Sale Of Land

In the most general sense, a sale of land is completed when the seller delivers a Transfer of Land, signed by all of the sellers, to the buyer, and that Transfer is then registered at the Land Titles Office. The registration of the Transfer is a notice that the buyer is now the registered owner of the land, and the seller has no further interest in that parcel of land.

The basis for any sale of land is the Real Estate Purchase Contract (the “Contract”). Most sellers will work with a real estate agent to complete this Contract, and usually use the Alberta Real Estate Association standard form of the Contract.

The significant portions of the Contract include: the purchase price of the house and land; the Completion Date, or the day on which the buyer will take possession of the house; and any conditions which the seller may wish to include in the Contract.

The Completion Date is a very significant day in the closing of the sale transaction. Obviously, the seller must have moved out and left the house ready for the buyer by noon on that day, but it is also the date on which the buyer and seller adjust certain annual expenses. The seller is responsible for their share of municipal property taxes from January 1 of the year up to, and including, the Completion Date, and the buyer is responsible for their share of taxes from after the Completion Date to December 31 of the year. Depending on the Completion Date, either the seller or the buyer may receive a credit for property taxes.

Adjustments are also made for community association fees and condominium fees, where applicable, as of the Completion Date.

In most cases, the seller of a parcel of land is also required, under the Contract, to provide a current Real Property Report (“RPR”) to the buyer prior to closing. The RPR is intended to provide a “top down” view of the house and any other permanent structures on the land, showing their location relative to the property lines. RPR’s must also show any fences that are located adjacent to the property lines, regardless of who has constructed them, simply because fences tend to indicate boundaries.

The word “current” as it relates to RPR’s has been interpreted to mean “current as to the improvements on the property” and not necessarily “current in time.”  That is, there is usually no time limit on the validity of an RPR, provided that it shows all permanent structures on the property.

The RPR must also be accompanied by a certificate from the City of Calgary, or from the relevant municipality, that the house complies with municipal planning bylaws, and that no part of the structure is located on a utility right-of-way or some other restricted part of the property.

RPR’s may, or may not, be required if the property is a condominium unit. CONDOMINIUM PAGE Bareland condominium units require that an RPR is provided; a conventional unit does not.  If a seller, or their real estate agent, is unsure if an RPR is required, Cameron Horne Law Office can assess the type of unit and provide our advice as to the need for an RPR.

The seller will meet with their lawyer 10 to 14 days before the closing date of the sale to discuss the financial component of the transaction, and to sign the Transfer of Land.

The lawyer’s role in a sale of land is to receive the completed Contract from the seller, and coordinate the delivery of the Transfer of Land to the purchaser’s lawyer. The seller’s lawyer also contacts any lenders that have registered mortgages on the seller’s title and request that the lender provide a discharge statement so that these mortgages can be paid out and discharged from title. The seller’s lawyer pays the balance of the mortgage to the lender and obtains a discharge of that mortgage, which is registered at the Land Titles Office. The lawyer also orders an updated Real Property Report (if necessary), pays the balance of real estate commissions owing to the real estate brokerage and, finally, provides the balance of the net sale proceeds to the seller of the house.

CAMERON HORNE LAW OFFICE specializes in real estate transactions, and we are committed to providing quality legal services at competitive rates. Please contact our office for a fee quotation for the sale of real property, or to discuss your sale transaction.