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Why You Need a Real Estate Lawyer for Transfer of Property Ownership in Ontario

Transfer of Ownership may look like a simple process at first, but law experts know that it has a whole spectrum of details and tricky steps. Here’s how it works and why you need professional legal help to make the entire process truly simple and seamless.

More information you can find on MB Law.

What is Transfer of Ownership in Canada

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Transfer of Ownership refers to the legal process of transferring real estate title from one person to another.

For example, you sell your house to a new buyer. The purchase and sale will be completed through a real estate transaction and you will no longer be the owner of the house. Your title will be in the name of the new buyer. The new owner will have rights to all your property and assets, including your house. Therefore, you are no longer legally responsible for it unless you want to buy it back or rent it out again.

When You Need to Transfer Ownership

The full list of situations when you need to transfer ownership of your property is unlimited. However, while your situation can be unique, you’ll still face the same questions as everyone else. Here are 3 of the most common reasons for property ownership transfer that real estate lawyers deal with on almost a daily basis:

  1. Marriage;
  2. Divorce;
  3. Refinancing.

Add Your Spouse to Property Title

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You may wish to add your spouse to the title of your property. In doing so, you must provide a deed of the property. The deed is a legal document that transfers ownership of a piece of property. Your deed typically gives you and your spouse equal ownership rights in the property. The deed gives the property’s new owner legal title to the property. The new owner has the legal right to do with the property as he or she sees fit. This can change over time if you choose to sell, borrow money against it, let it sit vacantly, or rent it out.

Divorce Property Ownership Transfer

If a couple decides to divorce, one of them will have to transfer the property ownership to their spouse. It becomes complicated when both spouses own properties: in this situation, only one of them can keep their real estate. This way, the lawyers will have to talk with you and decide which party should transfer ownership rights. There are some cases where this rule does not apply (for example if you and your spouse have children together).

If you are going through a divorce, it is important to decide if one party should keep the property or if you should sell it. Assigning ownership of your home will depend on your circumstances and what is practical for you. However, both parties need to sign off on the new owner in most cases. It is crucial that you not delay in making this decision and confirm it with a lawyer as soon as possible.

Property Ownership Transfer for Refinancing

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Most people with a home mortgage also have a second mortgage or home equity loan. This allows them to borrow money for renovations and improve their property value over time. If a couple has to sell their existing house, they can use the newly purchased property as collateral for the second mortgage. This will make it easier to purchase a new house and considerably reduce the capital needed.

In other words, in all situations in which one person gains or loses rights on a property, a legal transfer of ownership is required.

Why You Need a Real Estate Lawyer

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In fact, in the majority of cases, to complete the process — you and the buyer, seller, or the new property owner need not just one, but two real estate lawyers. In accordance with Canadian law, one layer can not act on behalf of both sides of the process. Two lawyers are necessary to complete the ownership transfer. Luckily, in the majority of cases, you need to hire just one.

Professional guidance is necessary for real estate deals and title transfers. There are many types of deals that require expertise. Especially in case of unusual situations (that actually happen all the time). Here are some examples:

Multiple Purchasers or Owners Title Transfer?

In this particular case, the seller, who is selling a property with multiple owners has to obtain legal representation to make sure that all owners will have the same chance to add their name to the title document. You’ll need to understand the difference between tenants and joint tenants and what these terms mean in accordance with the current Canadian laws.

Multiple Fees?

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You’re supposed to pay legal fees for your property ownership transfer, including the land transfer tax. A good real estate lawyer should help you fill the tax forms right so you don’t have to deal with the consequences out of nowhere later.

Gifting Your Property?

If the property owner intends to give their home as a gift, they will not be subject to capital gains on the property nor the associated tax. The capital gains tax rate in Canada depends on whether or not an individual has held onto the asset for more than 12 months.

Note that inheritance is a whole different situation. You won’t pay capital gain ONLY if you inherit a house, and you’ll have to deal with the tax if the property is a vacation home or any type of commercial property. It works the same way with the property you intend to rent out. To understand all the details — we recommend talking to a real estate lawyer.

Paperwork?

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You’ll need to obtain a whole pack of documents, including the ownership documents, bank statements, tax bills, and insurance documents. Getting all the paperwork yourself might require way more time than this process is truly worth. A real estate lawyer will help you with obtaining the necessary documentation n the shortest possible time.

The Final Word

Most of us are truly busy in our everyday lives. For the majority of people, purchasing a house and paying taxes is enough of a headache. For others, it can be fun – especially if they have enough money to spend on their preferred “immovable” type of property. But all these additional steps become unnecessary if you find a real estate lawyer who can make the whole process practically effortless so you’re not stressing about it.


Ricardo is a freelance writer specialized in politics. He is with foreignpolicyi.org from the beginning and helps it grow. Email: richardorland4[at]gmai.com