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The Importance of Title Searches in Residential Conveyancing

House for Sale

Buying or selling residential property is stressful enough without adding in real estate and legal jargon, but sometimes it can’t be helped. Today’s words of the day are residential conveyancing and title searches. Neither is particularly difficult to understand, but it is helpful to have a lawyer to tend to them on your behalf.

Residential Conveyancing

Simply put, residential conveyancing is the legal act of transferring ownership of a residential property from one party to another. It is a process that can take weeks to months to complete, and it requires the expertise of a property solicitor or conveyancer who understands the steps and paperwork involved. Part of that paperwork is a title search.

Title Search

An examination of the registered ownership of a property is called a title search. The buyer’s legal team should do a title search to confirm that the seller has a legal right to sell the property they are selling. A title search also:

  • provides a history of past ownership, which can indicate potential issues with the property: was it bought and sold several times in a short period, or has it been owned by select long-term owners?

  • determines if there are any potential charges or encumbrances such as liens, title claims, judgments, mortgages, easements, or property line issues.

Any of these concerns could prevent the buyer from taking full possession of the residential property they hoped to buy and could even prevent the sale of the property. However, the lawyers involved usually work together to resolve the issues so this does not happen. 

Title Insurance is recommended for buyers in case an issue with the title is discovered after conveyancing. Examples of these kinds of problems include:

  • encroachment issues

  • errors in surveys and public records

  • unknown errors or title defects

  • previously undiscovered liens

  • title fraud

Title insurance is a one-time expense that covers you for as long as you own your property. Your real estate or conveyance lawyer often applies for it as part of their residential conveyancing services.

Residential Conveyancing Process

Now that we have explained the real estate words of the day, we can look deeper at the six steps of the residential conveyancing process. 

  • Your lawyer receives a signed contract of purchase or sale plus mortgage instructions from a lender.

  • Your lawyer performs a title check and works with their counterpart to ensure that there are no outstanding costs for the buyer, i.e. property taxes are up to date and liens are paid. These are the seller’s responsibility.

  • Your lawyer prepares the residential conveyancing documents such as:

    • Form A transfers

    • Mortgage documents

    • Statements of adjustment

    • GST certificates

    • Property Transfer Tax returns

  • The seller and the buyer sign all the required documents. The buyer’s lawyer then orders the funds from the buyer's lending institution and confirms that they have been received by the seller’s lawyer. 

  • All documents are then reviewed, and pre- and post-registration title searches are performed. The seller receives their money, and the conveyancing lawyers confirm the transfer of property.

  • The seller pays their existing mortgage and other charges and provides proof through a Discharge of Mortgage form that is then registered at the Land Title Office. Once this is done, the buyer’s lawyer will order a State of Title Certificate. When it has been received, the conveyancing process is complete.

Residential Conveyancing in Kelowna

At Heritage Law Group, we take care of all the details of residential conveyancing of property in and around Kelowna. Whether you are buying or selling, we can help. Give us a call today to learn more about our services or to book a consultation with a member of our experienced, knowledgeable, and serviceable team.


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