Monthly Archives: May 2017

Diamond & Diamond Hosts Mortgage Fraud Seminar | Real Estate Lawyers

Diamond & Diamond Hosts Mortgage Fraud Seminar

Diamond & Diamond Talk Mortgage Fraud at Recent Seminar

Diamond and Diamond lawyers Avi Top and Isaac Zisckind talked to brokers yesterday about mortgage fraud.

Email Avi at atop@diamondlaw.ca for more info. Thank you to Mortgage Outlet Inc. for hosting us at their offices.

Diamond & Diamond Hosts Non-Resident Speculation Tax Seminar | Real Estate Lawyers

Diamond & Diamond Hosts Non-Resident Speculation Tax Seminar

Diamond & Diamond Hosts Seminar About the Non-Resident Tax

Diamond & Diamond Lawyers Avi Top and Isaac Zisckind were proud to host a seminar on the “NRST” (or non-resident speculation tax) foreign buyers tax at Forest Hill Central.

Thank you to all the real estate agents who came out in full force to listen. A special thanks to the Brokers of Record in helping us coordinate this for their team.

Should You Probate a Will? | Diamond & Diamond Real Estate Lawyers

How to Probate a Will

What You Should Know About How to Probate a Will 

Once you have taken the essential steps in order to plan your estate after consulting with a knowledgeable Ontario attorney, it is necessary for the courts to validate or prove your will. This is described in the term known as: probate a will.

The court will carry out this procedure of determining whether or not your will is valid, and created by the individual who has passed away.

The probate a will process additionally confirms the individual who is named as the executor in the will. The letters probate or the executor’s documents will be given by the court to the executor as validity of his or her authority and ability to manage the estate.

Your planning ahead and understanding of the process ultimately benefits not just you but also your beneficiaries.

When is Probate Triggered?

The beneficiaries, the type of the assets and the will itself determines when probate is needed.

Frequently, the will is sufficient in order to name an executor and all the authority necessary to settle the estate.

In the event that the administration of the estate could take a few years, the executor should obtain letters of probate as soon as possible. This names his or her official recognition for managing the testator’s estate.

The executor might even require this proof to recover funds associated with the testator or transferring particular assets in line with the deceased individual’s will.

Letters of probate may also be essential in the event that the executor believes that someone may contest that individual’s right to manage the estate.

How to Get the Letters Probate

The individual asking for letters probate is responsible for submitting an application to the clerk of the probate court.

This can occur in any judicial district in which the testator was living before passing away or a district where deceased individual owned property. There may be certain fees requested, paid to the probate court for the letters probate.

These are outlined in the regulations for the probate court act. If a lawyer submits the application for these papers, the estate is also responsible for paying the lawyer’s fee and this is outside of the probate fee.

In the event that an individual passes away without a valid will, the probate court has to appoint an individual to act as administrator of the estate.

The court will make this appointment when someone qualified to act in such a capacity submits an application. Typically, this is a family member or a close friend of the deceased.

The administrator plays a role similar to someone serving as a will executor, so it’s important to understand how these roles work during the probate a will process.

First of all, the administrator must collect any money the estate is due at the time of the individual’s death. Then, he or she uses these funds and money inside the estate to make income tax payments and other debt payments.

Once this process is complete, the administrator has to sell any assets within the estate and distribute them according to the Devolution of Estates Act.

If no one has been named as administrator and no person steps forward to play this role, then the court may take action and appoint someone to serve in this capacity.

The individual appointed will step forward and manage the estate administration as listed above.

Knowing what to expect in the probate a will process within your province is beneficial for approaching the estate planning process itself.

A lawyer can help you identify the different tools and strategies you might use to plan ahead and empower your loved ones to make informed decisions on your behalf.

An Overview of Real Estate Closing Costs | Diamond & Diamond Real Estate Lawyers

An Overview of Real Estate Closing Costs

Real Estate Closing Costs Overview

Understanding all of the real estate closing costs associated with your transactions can help prepare you more effectively for this final meeting.

It is important to identify an attorney with real estate experience well in advance of moving forward with a real estate transaction.

Your attorney can help review all of the relevant documents associated with this transaction, and guide you through what can sometimes be a complicated process.

Closing costs typically range from between 1.4% to 4.1% of the selling price. These are the administrative and legal costs that you will have to pay during the closing.

In addition to these particular real estate closing costs, there may be other events or legal expenses that require an outlay of cash before, during or after your house closes.

Read on to learn more so you can help prepare for these costs.

Funds Required Before the Mortgage Closes

There are two primary things that you will be responsible for paying before the mortgage closes. These are your deposit and your home inspection fee.

The deposit is something that counts for the down payment and is made when you initiate an offer to purchase. Your deposit may be up to 5% of the purchase price. This is the down payment minimum for a home in Canada.

Make sure you have properly budgeted in advance so that you know what you can afford, not just with regard to the mortgage, but also the closing costs.

Some people entering the process for the first time might not understand all the various real estate closing costs.

A home inspection fee is strongly recommended and can be obtained by contacting a home inspection officer and you may have this a part of your offer to purchase.

A home inspector is responsible for putting together a report about the home’s condition. This will typically cost around $500.

Mortgage Finance Costs

CMHC or mortgage default insurance is typically considered as a closing cost in a purchase of a new home.

This is usually added to your total mortgage and will be amortized over the life of the mortgage.

Mortgage default insurance is required if you get a house with less than 20% down. This helps give the lender some peace of mind that even if you default on the loan, they will be protected.

Home Buyer Mandatory Closing Costs

The home buyer is responsible for incurring a variety of different real estate closing costs, including:

  • Title insurance that typically ranges from $100 to $300.
  • Legal disbursements and fees, typically around a minimum of $500.
  • The land transfer tax, which is calculated as a percentage of the home’s purchase price.
  • CMHC or PST insurance, which has to be paid in cash at the time of closing on the property and is financed directly through the mortgage.

Some home buyers may also be responsible for handling other real estate closing costs, such as:

  • Water tests
  • The Estoppel Certificate fee
  • Septic tank fees, as you may need to test and ensure it works properly.

Lender Covered Closing Cost

The lender typically covers the appraisal fee, which is the estimate on the home’s value. An appraisal is used to give the lender certification about the resale potential of the home in the event that you are to default on the mortgage and typically costs up to $350.

Other Costs to Factor In

There are several other costs that you may wish to factor in when engaging in a real estate transaction. These include:

  • Property taxes
  • Prepaid utility bills
  • Property insurance

Closing Day

The day on which you obtain legal possession of the home is referred to as the closing day. The book of your administrative work should be done by this stage, including the transfer of the down payment to the attorney.

Transferring down payment pawns particularly from your RRSP can take some time and this why you need to engage in this process several days in advance. On your closing day, the following events will occur:

  • Your lender will give the mortgage funds to your notary or your attorney.
  • You must provide any down payment, minus the deposit to the notary and the lawyer along with any closing cost incurred.
  • Your notary or lawyer will pay the previous owner, officially register the home to you and give you the keys and deed.

Identifying a real estate lawyer who has extensive experience in this field is necessary for ensuring that you have all of the proper aspects considered, and to assist you with moving through this process as smoothly as possible.

Purchasing a home is an exciting experience, but it is one that is also filled with numerous different types of details.

Having a lawyer to guide you through this and give you peace of mind that you have crossed all of your T’s and dotted all of your I’s is helpful for making this process as enjoyable and snag free as possible.

Other Costs of Buying a Home | Diamond & Diamond Real Estate Lawyers

Other Costs of Buying a Home

Additional Costs of Buying a Home That You Should Be Aware Of

Many fees may surround the process of purchasing a home, and it’s valuable to know the other costs of buying a home in advance so that you are fully prepared when you identify your dream home.

In addition to the standard closing costs associated with the property there may be additional costs of buying a home assessed to you, the purchaser, when you buy your new condo or home.

Every one of these fees is dependent on numerous factors, including whether the seller had pre-paid anything for the year that you may need to reimburse that individual for, how the mortgage financing is structured and whether or not it is a new home.

Appraisal Fee

If you are eligible to put down 20% or more towards the purchase price, you will not be responsible for obtaining mortgage default insurance.

However, your lender may still ask for an appraisal of the property you intend to purchase. If the lender requests that you commission an appraisal on the property, they will need someone else to confirm the market value of the home to verify that it is accurate.

This is for your lender’s purposes in the event that you were to default on the home so that they have some awareness of the resale price.

Lenders may also offer you a list of appraisers they typically work with, but you may be eligible to find one yourself. An appraisal fee can cost anywhere from $150 to $500.

New Home Warranty Enrollment Fee

In the majority of provinces, special insurance providers will give warranties on new home bills and that includes all home types not just condos.

This is referred to as a new home warranty. The enrollment fee for this is usually between $500 and $1000. Also, it is very beneficial for a purchaser to consider this in any case because it protects you from having to pay for any repairs that may have been associated with builder error.

You will have to pay for this one of two primary ways: through the purchase price in your mortgage or with cash up front.

Some builders may include such fee in the asking price, but others will not, so it is important to have your attorney review these documents in full well in advance. Make sure you understand what you are responsible for and whether or not it is included before you buy, so you can calculate these extra closing costs.

Hookup Fees

It is essential to have your utilities hooked up and turned on prior to your moving day. These include:

  • Hydro
  • Cable and internet
  • Oil
  • Gas
  • Electricity

Some of these come with various hookup fees, so it is a good idea to set aside a couple of hundred dollars to ensure that you are not surprised by the first bills.

Land Survey Fee

Your lender may request that you obtain an up to date land survey. This process involves a surveyor visiting the property, measuring the land and ensuring that all of boundary lines are being appropriately represented.

A seller will typically commission this survey prior to listing the home and pay the fee, which is usually between $600 and $900. In the event that the seller doesn’t do this, however, and your lender demands this information, you may be responsible for the bill.

Prepaid Condo Fees

If the seller has prepaid their condo maintenance fees for the year, you will need to reimburse them for the pro-rated amount from the day you take possession.

This would typically be outlined in your statement of adjustments.

Prepaid Utilities

If a seller is ahead on payments for hydro, oil, water or gas, you will also be responsible for the reimbursing them for that in a pro-rated fashion.

This should be outlined on your statement of adjustments.

Prepaid Property Taxes

Home owners across Canada are responsible for paying property taxes. They may be paid quarterly, monthly, twice a year or even annually.

In the event that the seller of a home has prepaid their property tax for the whole year, you will be responsible for reimbursing them for a prepaid amount from the day of the closing to the date they have paid up to.

Having a sit-down meeting with your experienced real estate lawyer can help advise you about the various things you will be responsible for on the closing process so that you can create a comprehensive budget.

Identifying a real estate attorney early on in the process is the best way to be completely clear about what you are responsible for, and to take all the necessary steps to protect yourself and prepare yourself.

Being caught with the other costs of buying a home on the big day can damper the excitement of your purchase. So, make sure you are clear about everything you are responsible for well in advance.

First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit | Diamond & Diamond Real Estate Lawyers

First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit

What to Know About the First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit

Did you know that there are first time home buyer benefits in Canada? You should always evaluate whether or not you may be entitled to this home buyer tax credit, as it’s an added bonus to the excitement of buying your first home.

Having a real estate lawyer you can trust is vital for this process, so that you know what to expect over the course of finding and buying a new house.

Understanding First Time Home Buyer Programs

Anyone who is in the process of considering purchasing their first home in Ontario should carefully review their individual needs, and understand all of the potential benefits to which they could be entitled.

Canada’s Economic Action Plan introduced the first-time home buyer’s tax credit to assist Canadians with buying their first home.

It is designed to help recover some of the closing costs associated with inspections, legal expenses and land transfer taxes. It currently works out to a rebate of $750 for all individuals purchasing their home for the first time.

In order to obtain this credit, you must request it within one year or purchase and remember that it is non-refundable. Your home must also meet the eligibility requirements to be a qualified home.

If you are purchasing a home with a friend, partner or spouse, the combined claim cannot go beyond $750.

You will need to identify your first-time home purchase on the line 369 on your personal tax return. In order to qualify for the first-time home buyers tax credit, you will need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be purchasing a new or existing home
  • Be within Canada
  • It must be a mobile home, single semi-town house, apartment or condo.
  • You must intend to occupy the home within a maximum of one year of purchase.
  • You can include cooperative housing corporations or shares that give you home possession.
  • Your home has to be registered in your spouse’s name or your name.
  • You may not have owned a home in the previous four-year period.
  • You cannot have lived in a home owned by a spouse in the previous four years.
  • You must be prepared to submit supporting evidence at the time of your home purchase.
Buying a House from a Builder | Diamond & Diamond Real Estate Lawyers

Buying a House from a Builder

What to Think About When Buying a House from a Builder

When buying a house from a builder, you need to be aware of several key things to expect and look for, so that your interests are protected from the outset of the transaction.

Satisfaction and customer service are critical when buying a new house from a builder. This means that the builder should make each step in the building and buying process as simple as possible for you.

You should always be treated like a valued customer even after you move into your new home. Expect that your builder and/or sales staff associated with the purchase are knowledgeable, efficient, prompt, upfront and open.

When you first visit a model home or the sales office, the builder or the sales staff should provide you with critical information that you can take home.

This should include information about the area and the development in detail, including amenities, schools, shopping, transportation, features and who has purchased already.

They should also be interested in identifying your own housing needs. Once you are ready to purchase, buying a house from a builder should enable you to receive a clear explanation of the entire process.

An orientation tour should be provided to you when you take possession of the new home, so that you can inspect it completely and the builder can explain how everything works.

It is important to understand what is covered by warranties, the time period under which items are covered by warranties and how to request service after the sale is complete.

You also should know what you can expect during the first year and have a schedule of checkups and contacts if necessary.

Mortgage Renewal Process | Diamond & Diamond Real Estate Lawyers

Mortgage Renewal Process

How to Prepare for the Mortgage Renewal Process

At the conclusion of your mortgage term, if you still owe a balance on that property, you will need to renew the mortgage for another term.

This is also an opportunity to evaluate your current mortgage and compare it with any financial goals you may have recently set.

Your current mortgage provider will notify you of the upcoming renewal in the mail with a slip that you can sign back, but if you want be sure that all of your needs are properly met, you need to take a proactive approach when thinking about your mortgage renewal.

Why You Should Start the Mortgage Renewal Process Early

First of all, begin the process of shopping for your mortgage renewal several months before the term is up.

Approximately, four months before your renewal date many lenders will let you initiate the early mortgage renewal process. This could also assist you with avoiding a pre-payment penalty.

Reevaluating Your Financial Situation

You can also begin researching your options online during this time. Plenty of different things can happen with regard to your financial situation over the course of a mortgage term.

The financial goals that you have at the beginning of your mortgage term may no longer identify with your goals today. You might have retired, lost income or received a raise at work.

Make sure that you have considered all of these individual needs when evaluating a mortgage rate, product and term. Ask yourself the following questions in order to identify what you are looking for in a mortgage product when it is time to renew:

  • Will you be able to pay off the mortgage entirely in the next term?
  • Will you receive any additional funds like inheritances or bonuses that could be put towards your mortgage payment?
  • Do you have room in your budget to increase your payment amount on your mortgage?
  • Do you have any intention of borrowing more money from your lender over the course of this next term?

Being Ready to Renew Within 30 Days

The final stage of preparing for the renewal process is being ready to renew in the final thirty days.

Your lender has to send you a renewal statement, a minimum of 21 days before the term is up, but you will usually receive a renewal offer with their lowest posted rate, approximately 30 days before the maturity.

When it’s Time to Make a Decision

After you have considered your financial goals, outlined your needs and asked yourself critical questions; it is time to make a decision. Identify whether or not your current lender or another lender is offering you the best mortgage rate and product at this particular period in time.

Although there will be some paperwork involved in switching providers, you may be eligible to access better mortgage rates by doing this.

Your new lender’s qualifying criteria may be separate from your current lenders, so be prepared to do the research in advance so that you know what to expect.

Mortgage Renewal Tips | Diamond & Diamond Real Estate Lawyers

Mortgage Renewal Tips

What to Think About When Renewing Your Mortgage

Your mortgage payment may be a high expense in your monthly budget, but when mortgage term comes up for renewal, lenders may tempt you to stay with them by sending you out a renewal offer that simply requires your signature in response.

However, it is often in your best interest to do some research on your own.

Mortgage Renewal Tips

One of the most important steps that you can take without the mortgage renewal process is to start shopping around for a new mortgage rate as early as four months prior to your product renewal.

You may be eligible to ask for a better rate. Renewal offers will be mailed to you by the lender within the last 30 days of your mortgage term, but many will even send this sooner.

Mortgage lenders may offer you a discount off of the posted rate for being an existing client. However, it might lead to you paying a higher interest rate than you actually need to if you’ve shopped around instead.

Bear in mind that the best lender at the time of taking out your mortgage may not be the best lender now.

After you have identified a mortgage rate and a product that you are happy with, ask for a rate hold.

The majority of lenders will enable you to hold the rate for up to 120 days, meaning that you can come back later and achieve this rate. This gives you some peace of mind if you are concerned that your rates may otherwise go up before you renew.

Bear in mind that switching providers takes time and may lead to delays, paperwork or even some additional costs, but it can ultimately end up being worth it in the long run if you are able to reduce your existing mortgage rate.

Debt Consolidation 101 - Diamond & Diamond Real Estate Lawyers

Debt Consolidation 101

Why Debt Consolidation May Be Right For You

You may be eligible to combine all of your high interest debt, including personal lines of credit, auto loans and debt from credit cards into one low rate mortgage loan.

By putting all of this consolidated debt together in a secured loan supported by the equity in your property, you may be eligible to access interest rates that are lower than what a personal line of credit would otherwise allow.

This is a helpful process for those individuals who are unable to make their monthly payments on time. One reduced per month is all that is required from debt consolidation.

3 Popular Reasons Canadians Consolidate Debt

Three of the most common reasons that individuals in Canada choose to consolidate their debt include:

  • Decreasing your monthly payments
  • Improving your credit score
  • Lowering your interest rate

Whatever you’re interested in, make sure you have all the facts upfront before deciding to move forward with steps to consolidate debt.

3 Ways to Combine Debt Consolidation with Your Mortgage

There are three ways that you can consolidate your debt into one mortgage. This is known as:

  • A home equity line of credit
  • Refinance
  • A second mortgage

A home equity line of credit is a line of credit supported by your home. It enables you to access up to 80% of the home’s value.

Refinancing allows you to get up to 80% of your home’s value by breaking your mortgage term early.

Finally, a second mortgage frequently comes with a very high interest rate, so you should always do all of your research in advance to determine whether this is right for you.