Buying or Selling a Home in Quebec

George Lamontagne for The Lawyers Weekly

When a person wishes to either purchase or sell real estate in the province of Quebec, the first step they should consider taking is to consult a legal professional (either a Quebec lawyer or a notary) familiar with real estate transactions.

For the Quebec vendor, the Quebec real estate lawyer or a notary can review the title documentation, including the prior deeds of sale and certificate of location, identify any problems that might exist, and map out a course of action that will enable the vendor to resolve them on a timely basis so that a valid title can be provided to the purchaser at the closing (rather than risk ending up in a situation where the vendor is obliged to attempt to resolve the problem after an agreement in principle has been reached with the potential purchaser, the delay to execute has now become a critical factor, and the failure to execute can have dire consequences, including cancellation of the sale resulting in an action for damages).

Furthermore the Quebec real estate lawyer or a notary can assist the Quebec vendor in the selection of, and the negotiations with, a real estate agent and establish the parameters of his (her) mandate, including the duration of the mandate, the fee structure, listing options and any other matters that may be tabled. The Quebec real estate lawyer or a notary can, and should review any offers submitted and can, and should assist in the preparation of any counter offer structured to safeguard the client's interests.

In the event that a problem arises after the meeting of the minds of the parties on the terms and conditions of the Quebec sale through to the signing of the deed of sale and payment of the proceeds of the sale, the Quebec real estate lawyer or a notary who has been involved in the file from its' very inception can intervene rapidly to proceed to its' resolution.

If a person wishes to purchase a home in Quebec, the real estate lawyer or a notary can review the documents that will be submitted by a real estate agent, especially with respect to any offer to purchase that the purchaser may contemplate signing.

The Quebec real estate lawyer or a notary can assist the purchaser in finding financing on the best possible terms and also provide useful information to the client on the financing choices available, including conventional Quebec real estate mortgages, amortization terms, repayment frequencies and prepayment options, along with their respective merits and demerits.

It is important to remember that most parties who buy and sell homes do so infrequently and accordingly their natural anxiety inevitably leads to increased stress. The various documents that form part of the transaction from when the decision to attempt to buy or sell is taken, through to the actual closing, are generally unfamiliar and invariably voluminous. Further, the participants in the sale process (other than the parties to the sale themselves), including the real estate agents, land surveyors, building experts, bankers, real estate lawyers or notaries can often use language alien to the parties.

Accordingly, having a real estate professional quarterback the transaction with a view to protecting his/her client's interest ensures that the client avoids the many pitfalls that can beset the unsuspecting vendor/purchaser. Ultimately, the client will probably find that he (she) has saved considerable grief and aggravation and, quite probably, dollars as well.

George Lamontagne is a lawyer with Nudleman, Lamontagne in Montreal, Quebec.

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