A long tradition of trust
Wondering about whether to use a lawyer or a BC Notary Public when you are buying or selling your home (called conveyancing)?
BC Notaries have been helping clients for over a century.
A recent survey showed that more British Columbians rate their impression of BC Notaries higher than they do of lawyers. Clients were also very happy with the service their BC Notary provided them. In many cases, with conveyancing, your BC Notary will take a very hands-on and personal approach to client service.
Should I use a BC Notary or lawyer?
You can actually use both a BC Notary or a lawyer for conveyancing in BC; they both do the same work when it comes to conveyancing.
Here’s how a BC Notary can help you with your conveyancing:
Buying, selling or refinancing your home
Whether you are dealing with a brand new condo, a heritage house, or a farm, your BC Notary can help. If your property is in the provincial Land Title System, the Manufactured Home Registry or the Indian Lands Registry system, we can still help.
We have no restrictions on the type of properties we can help you buy, sell or refinance.
We can help you with all lenders as well – major banks, credit unions and monoline (online) banks.
Due diligence for new purchases
We can also help you with your due diligence if you are buying a new home. We will do a number of standard searches (title, property taxes & utilities) when we are preparing your paperwork, but we can also help you with additional services when you are just investigating a property
For example, we can help you:
- review title search results and contracts in the “subject removal” stage
- do a detailed or historical title investigation, or help your REALTOR® with additional due diligence searches
- review the plan for your property with you
- review strata documentation
Please let us know what kinds of additional due diligence you need, and we will give you an estimate for costs for these additional services.
We can help you draft private contracts, or provide guidance to your REALTOR® for any unusual or unique terms you want to include in your contract.
Giving legal advice
Yes your BC Notary can give you legal advice about buying, selling or refinancing your home. In fact, we are required by law to do so.
We are required to meet the same standard of professional care as lawyers, and that includes giving you legal advice.
Deal falling apart? Need to close in a few days instead of a few weeks? buying and selling on the same day? Buying a foreclosure property?
If your deal is going wobbly, or has complications, your BC Notary can still help you in exactly the same way any good conveyancing lawyer can.
In fact, BC Notaries generally do a significant amount of conveyancing, and see all kinds of unusual transactions, so they have great experience in dealing with the unusual.
Cleaning up your title
If you are selling your home, dealing with an estate, or using a Power of Attorney, we can help you clean up the title and get ready for sale.
For example, if you are selling a home you have owned for a long time, we can do a title search for you to make sure there have been no surprise changes to your title since you bought it.
If your spouse has died, we can help transmit the property into your name as surviving joint tenant (if you owned the property as joint tenants).
If you are in the middle of a separation, we can help make sure the title is clear from spousal charges before it gets sold.
If you paid off a mortgage at the bank years ago, but never cleared the mortgage from your land title records, we can help you clean that up as well.
Adding or removing someone from title
If your spouse has died, we can help remove their name from title. That will make it easier for you or your family if and when the time comes for you to sell it.
If you are separating, we can help you carry out the terms of your separation agreement – transferring your home into one spouse’s name, refinancing, or even selling your property.
If you have just gotten married, and want to add a spouse to the title of your home (congratulations!) we can help with that too.
Subdividing and other development work
We would be happy to help you:
- subdivide lots or other properties (for sale or development)
- create, sign and register easements, rights of way, covenants and other development documents
Our fees are very competitive with other legal services professionals.
If you would like an estimate, please call us. We can give you a ball-park range for our services, or, if you send us your contract of purchase and sale and your lender instructions, we can give you a more exact estimate for the legal costs involved in your transaction.
A quick note about fees: while most BC Notaries charge set fees for simple conveyances, rather than charging hourly rates, these additional legal services are usually charged out on an hourly rate. Contact us for an estimate.
What we don’t do
We’re pretty amazing, but yes, there is one thing we don’t do.
BC Notaries (and good lawyers specializing in conveyancing) do not represent their clients in court; litigation is rarely required for conveyancing, but when it is required, the work should be handled by an appropriately trained litigation specialist.
So what about those lawyers who say that you should use them because they can go to court with you?
The skills and knowledge base needed to successfully represent a client in court are not the same as those required of a great conveyancing legal services professional. If you need to sue someone over a deal that completely fell apart, wouldn’t you want a specialist for that?
Imagine if your family doctor said “no, you don’t have to go to a gastroenterologist, I can do that colonoscopy myself”! It’s the same for conveyancing.
Our goal is to do our very best to help make sure your deal happens as set out in your contract without you ever needing to get to court.
If one of our clients decides to litigate an issue that simply cannot be resolved any other way, we will refer them to an appropriate litigation specialist, just like a great lawyer would.
Education & Experience
BC Notaries are specifically trained in conveyancing (rather than receiving a generalized legal education), and must take required continuing education every year. A significant portion of our annual continuing education deals with conveyancing issues.
In contrast, lawyers are not required to take any training in conveyancing before practising in this area of the law, or on an ongoing basis.
Many BC Notaries focus their practices substantially around conveyancing matters, and therefore have a significant amount of knowledge and experience to benefit their clients.
BC Notaries are also trained in mediation, which allows us to help our clients solve any issues which arise in the middle of a transaction.
Insurance & Governance
All BC Notaries must carry professional liability insurance in order to maintain their ability to practice. The Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia governs BC Notaries, and has great information on their website about BC Notaries.
Culture & Approach
BC Notaries are trained problem-solvers. When an issue arrives on a file, we approach it from a mediative approach, rather than an adversarial approach. While we might not be able to resolve every issue, our goal is to protect our clients while we help work out a solution to the issue at hand.
Respecting the rest of the team
We respect the professional input and roles of our mortgage broker and REALTOR® colleagues, and work hard to work with them when problem-solving. Since conveyancing makes up a significant portion of our practices, we are also efficient, and good at explaining complex legal issues to clients in appropriate ways.
Is the client’s mortgage funding late? We can help work out options. Need early possession? We can help negotiate changes to the contract, or early possession agreements. Is the client in a back-to-back deal with a delayed sale? We can manage that too. Need additional debts paid out on closing? We can help. Have a client who is incapable, or who has passed away? We can help. Clients in a divorce? We can help ensure the payouts meet with the terms of a separation agreement or court order.
The Notary Group
The Notary Group is the Okanagan’s largest professional notary corporation, and one of the founding partners in TNG Legal Services MDP.
The Notary Group is the trade name for Janzen & Caisley Notary Corp., a professional notary corporation.
With multiple offices throughout the Okanagan, and over 60 years of combined conveyancing experience, we can efficiently and effectively serve a wide range of clients throughout the Okanagan.
We also have a large support staff experienced in all areas of real estate.
We look forward to serving you!March 4, 2015 4:52 pm
Tags: BC Notaries, buying a home, conveyancing, easements, land title, refinancing, rights of way, selling a home, subdivisions, title search