April 30, 2012

What You Need To Know Before Buying a Home On Your Own

Legal advice can help a buyer make a more informed decision

Are you thinking about going solo on buying a home? Buying alone means you can choose the furniture you want, decorate how you like and live your own lifestyle. But there are also many issues a purchaser has to keep in mind, especially when it comes to the buying process and ownership rights. Working with a real estate lawyer can lead to a more informed purchase decision and make the whole experience easier and smoother.

Ray Leclair, an experienced real estate lawyer and acting vice-president of public affairs at LAWPRO suggests that single home buyers discuss the following topics with a lawyer:

1. Rental income

Do you plan to rent out a room in your condo or the basement of your new home? Provincial and municipal laws determine whether the rental space is legal. There are a host of other legal questions to consider, such as where tenants will park and how often rental fees can be raised. Renting part of your home can have many implications, including tax consequences. Your lawyer can help you navigate the process.

2. Cohabitation

While property title generally determines home ownership, matters can get complicated if a cohabitation relationship goes sour. What claims does a partner whose name is not on the title but made significant contributions to the home through renovations have? Getting legal advice and a cohabitation agreement can clarify potentially complex issues.

3. Renovations

A lawyer can help you understand potential liabilities and determine if the appropriate permits were obtained for renovations that were done on the home you would like to buy. Purchasing a “fixer-upper?” What building permits are needed? Even smaller projects, such as plumbing updates or fireplace installations may require a permit.

Consulting a real estate lawyer can help identify potential renovation issues and ensure work is compliant when turning a dream home into a reality. Another resource is the TitlePLUS Real Simple Real Estate Guide, available online at titleplus.ca, a website with information and useful tools for homebuyers.

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