Selling Your Home: What you need to Know
Published May 23, 2020
Associated Areas of law
When selling your home you should consider whether you want to list your home with a realtor or sell your home privately. For the sale of a home, a realtor can help in finding a prospective purchaser, assist with negotiations between you and the purchaser, and advise you of potential issues along the way.
While the assistance of a realtor can be invaluable, there is a commission to be paid for their assistance. You should consider if this added expense fits into your budget.
Someone is interested
When a potential purchaser is interested in your home, they will normally draft and submit an offer to purchase. Your lawyer can often assist you during this process, particularly in a private sale.
The Agreement of Purchase and Sale will set out certain information such as the purchase price, deposit and closing date. It may also be subject to certain conditions such as:
- A home inspection
- A water test
- Lawyer review
- Insurability of the property
- That the purchaser be approved for financing.
If any of these conditions are not met, the purchaser is free to walk away with their deposit. It is a good idea to have your lawyer review the offer to purchase before expiry of your conditions date to ensure it properly meets your needs.
On the date of sale, your lawyer will ensure a number of things such as:
- That the property is migrated
- Any mortgages owing on the property are paid in full and releases are obtained
- Any leased items are transferred or paid out
- Realtor commissions are paid in full
- Tax Considerations
A sale of real property can be subject to either HST or capital gains tax, and potentially both.
You should discuss tax implications with your lawyer before selling property particularly if it is not your principal residence (such as a cottage), or if you have subdivided the land into more than two pieces.
What is Migration?
As of March 1, 2005 every county in Nova Scotia is subject to the new Land Registration System. Nova Scotia formerly operated under a name-based land ownership recording registry, but has now converted to a parcel-based registry with the Land Registration Act.
Migration to the parcel-based system is triggered by the following events:
- Sale of property
- Mortgage of property (re-mortgaging of property)
- New condo developments
- Creation of certain subdivisions
Property migration guarantees that the registered owners of a migrated property are the true owners. Under the old name-based system, a “title search” was conducted each time a property was sold. Now, once a property is migrated, you only have to search from the migration date forward, and the old historical 40+ year search is not necessary. The cost of migration is usually the responsibility of the seller unless another arrangement is negotiated between the parties.
This memorandum is not intended to contain advice specific to your situation. Your use of this memorandum should be reviewed with your legal adviser.