New Year, New House – Your Guide to a Smooth Home Buying Process

young couple happy to move into new home

The New Year brings in new beginnings and resolutions. One such resolution that most of us have is to buy a new house, but the process can be daunting. Purchasing a home is an important decision, and it requires careful planning and expertise. Buying a house is not just about finding the right home; it’s about making the right financial decisions that will set you up for a secure future. In this blog post, we will cover everything you need to know about buying a house.

First Things First – Financial Planning

Before exploring the housing market, you need to analyze your finances. This involves understanding your income, expenditure, credit score, and debt. It’s best to break down your expenses and see how much of your income you can devote to home buying. It’s recommended to aim for a down payment of at least 20% of the home’s value. However, you may take advantage of first-time home buyer incentives for a lower down payment amount. A good credit score will not only assure you of loan approval but also help you secure a better interest rate. Be sure to get pre-approved for a loan before house hunting to know the amount you can afford.

House Hunting – Research and Due Diligence

House hunting can be an exciting experience, but it’s important to be realistic. Before searching, decide on the location, property size, and style that you prefer. Research the market trends and compare prices to avoid overpaying. Visit multiple homes and take note of details that may affect your future living experiences – neighbourhood, proximity to amenities, crime rate, schools, etc. While a home can look picture-perfect, it’s important to have a home inspection done to uncover any underlying problems.

Financing – The Options Available

Financing a home can be a daunting task, but there are several options available. The traditional method is to go through a mortgage lender, where you borrow money to purchase the house and pay it back with interest over a set period. Weigh the pros and cons of each before making a decision. You may want to reach out to a mortgage broker for assistance in evaluating all your lending options, understand borrowing trends and interest rates.

Closing the Deal – Legal Formalities

Closing on a house involves a lot of paperwork and legal formalities. This involves verifying the seller’s title to the property, settling fees, finalizing the mortgage agreement, and clearing any contingencies. Before signing any agreement, it’s important to have a real estate lawyer review the clauses and ensure that all conditions are favourable. Closing can take time and patience, so it’s best to stay on top of deadlines and have answers to any questions you may have.

Moving In – Setting Up Your New Home

Congratulations on closing the deal! This is a momentous occasion and marks the start of a new chapter in your life. Now it’s time to set up your new home. This involves packing, transporting, and unpacking your belongings. It’s an excellent time to set up utilities, such as electricity, gas, and water, and to get familiar with your new community. Be sure to organize everything to avoid any unnecessary stress.

Buying a house can seem like a daunting task, but by taking the proper steps, it can be a life-changing and rewarding experience. Ensure that you analyze your finances first, research the market, and explore various financing options. Review every legal document with a real estate lawyer before signing and close the deal on time. Finally, make your new house a home by staying organized and settling in comfortably.

We hope this blog post has given you a better understanding of what to expect when buying a house. Best of luck in your house hunting and remember to take it one step at a time.

When it’s time to look for a real estate lawyer to assist you with the legal closing of your transaction, reach out to us and we would love to help!

Avoid the Risks: Pros and Cons of Buying and Selling a House on the Same Day

Buying and selling a house or property on the same day can seem like a convenient and hassle-free approach, right? In a perfect world, it makes sense. However, if you’re considering simultaneous closings, there are a few things to keep in mind. While there are certainly benefits that come along with simultaneous closings, there are also some potential risks and pitfalls that can make the process less than ideal.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of simultaneous closings when purchasing or selling a home. We’ll take a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of this approach. Then you can better understand what you’re getting yourself into and make an informed decision that’s right for you.

Pros of Simultaneous Closings:

One of the biggest benefits of simultaneous closings is that it can be more convenient and cost-effective than traditional sales. For example, if you’re purchasing a new home and want to sell your current one, simultaneous closings can help you avoid paying two mortgages at once. Additionally, you’ll will have one mortgage payment after both transactions closing, which can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Another pro of simultaneous closings is that it can save you time. Instead of dragging out the process over several weeks or months, you can complete both transactions on the same day. This can be especially advantageous for people who are in a hurry to move and don’t want to wait around for a buyer or a seller to come through.

Cons of Simultaneous Closings:

One of the biggest drawbacks of simultaneous closings is that they require a significant amount of coordination and timing. Any unforeseen circumstance in legal or financial issues can cause significant delays and impact the transaction closing on time. There is just no margin for error.

Additionally, there are certain situations where simultaneous closings may not be possible. For example, if the buyer needs to secure financing, but the sale of their own home is not yet final, they may not be able to close on their new property until the old one is sold. If either transaction falls through, everything else falls through with it – leaving you back at square one.

Another potential drawback of simultaneous closings is that they can be more stressful and overwhelming than traditional sales. You’re dealing with two properties, two sets of negotiations, two sets of paperwork, and two separate closing procedures. This can be a lot to handle, especially if you’re unfamiliar with handling complex real estate transactions.

One of the most common risks for delays is obtaining funds from the buyers’ lender, which could result in the delay of a few hours or even a whole day.

Or, failure to obtain proof of insurance required by the lender could result in a delay in closing the sale.

Other possible risks could include issues with property inspections, appraisals, or with the title clearance, which could also cause delays.

This can lead to a chaotic situation where agreements need to be made quickly, which can cause anxiety and stress for buyers and sellers.

Our recommendations?

  • Avoid having your purchase and sale transactions close on the same day if possible.
  • Minimize potential disruptions by arranging any third-party services such as cleaners or movers on any day except possession day.
  • Have a contingency plan in case the closing is delayed.  
  • Have a backup living arrangement or storage unit for your belongings.

While simultaneous closings can be beneficial under the right circumstances, they’re not always the best or safest option. Take the time to weigh the pros and cons of this approach, so you can make an informed decision that’s right for your situation.

Ultimately, if you’re considering simultaneous closings, it’s always a good idea to consult with a qualified real estate lawyer so that they can help you understand the specific steps, risks, and timing demands involved. With expert guidance and planning, you can mitigate risks and increase the chances of a successful and complication-free simultaneous closing.

Understanding Title Insurance: What Home Buyers Need to Know

Title insurance

When buying a new home, you want to protect your ownership from any legal issues that may arise. This is why title insurance is crucial for any homebuyers.  Title insurance provides protection in case there are any issues with the title to the property you are purchasing. This may include any legal claims or disputes that may arise after purchase. But not everyone understands what title insurance is, how it works, and why you it is important. In this blog post, we will explore the basics of title insurance and why it’s crucial for homebuyers.

What is title insurance?

Title insurance is an insurance policy that protects you against any losses that may arise from mistakes or defects in the title of the property you are purchasing. It provides coverage for a range of potential issues, such as unknown liens, fraud, forgery, or other issues that may arise with the title of a property.

Why do you need title insurance?

Title defects can happen for a range of reasons, including errors in public records or mistakes in previous transactions. Without title insurance, you could face significant financial and legal consequences if a claim is made against your ownership of the property. Title insurance can protect you from these risks, giving you peace of mind and ensuring that you can enjoy your new home without any worries.

A title insurance company issues the policy after a thorough examination of the property’s title records. This ensures there are no issues or defects. If any defects are discovered after the policy issuance, the title insurance company will provide financial compensation to cover any losses incurred by the property owner or the mortgage lender.

In some situations mortgage lenders may require title insurance as a condition for issuing a loan. It is a one-time expense paid at the time of closing. The policy remains in effect for as long as the policy holder owns the property.

How does title insurance work?

You can purchase title insurance during the closing process and the policy protects you as long as you own the property. The cost of the policy varies depending on the location of the property and the purchase price. Typically, homebuyers will pay a one-time premium for the policy at closing.

What does title insurance cover?

Title insurance covers potential issues that may arise with the title of the property. They can include unknown liens, unpaid taxes, fraud, forgery, and more. It also provides protection for any legal expenses that may occur, such as hiring a lawyer to defend your ownership in case of a claim.

What are the benefits of title insurance?

Title insurance protects your investment and gives you peace of mind, allowing you to focus on enjoying your new home. It also reduces the risk of any legal disputes regarding your ownership, which can save you significant financial stress and potential legal battles in the future.

Buying a new home is a significant investment and one that requires careful consideration. Title insurance is an essential part of the homebuying process. It can provide valuable protection for any potential issues with the property title. As a homebuyer, it’s crucial to understand what title insurance is, how it works, and the benefits it can provide for you and your investment. Therefore, before you close on your new home, make sure you have coverage with a title insurance policy.

Still have questions about title insurance? Your lawyer will be happy to review it with you during your meeting when you’re signing your documents. This ensures you can have the peace of mind  and confidence in your choices.

The Real Risks of Being a Guarantor for a Mortgage

“I’ve just been asked to sign a guarantee for a mortgage, what does that mean?”

A guarantee is a legal promise or assurance made by one party (the guarantor) to another party (the beneficiary) that a particular obligation or debt will be fulfilled. Essentially, a guarantee is a form of security that provides the bank or lender with some level of protection in case the person responsible for the obligation or debt is unable or unwilling to fulfill it.

It’s not easy to get a mortgage, and some people may require a guarantor to meet the mortgage requirements. A guarantor is a person (i.e. you in this situation) who takes full responsibility for the mortgage if the borrower is unable to make payments. While serving as a guarantor can help your loved ones get a mortgage, it’s important to understand and evaluate the risks associated with being a guarantor. Before signing any papers, it’s essential to consider the worst-case scenario and what it might mean for your finances. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what it means to be a guarantor and explore the risks you may encounter.

1. Guarantor Risk Types and Relations

A guarantor takes full responsibility for a borrower’s mortgage if the borrower is unable to meet their payments. However, being a guarantor entails some risks, so it is important to consider these risks before being a guarantor. First, assess your relationship with the borrower. A guarantor’s risk varies depending on their relationship with the borrower. If the guarantor is the borrower’s parent, there might be a higher risk of involvement. Lenders may assume that parents are duty-bound to keep their children afloat financially. On the other hand, if the relationship is more distant (e.g., a co-worker or a friend), the risk may be moderate. In either case, it’s important to know the borrower’s financial situation before agreeing to be a guarantor.

2. Financial Risks

Apart from considering the borrower’s financial situation, it’s important to assess your financial position before becoming a guarantor. Make sure you can afford to meet the payments if the borrower defaults. Being a guarantor means you are legally responsible for the borrower’s debts, which may cause financial problems if you do not prepare in advance. You also risk damaging your credit score if the borrower misses payments, affecting your credit score. The credit reference agencies will link your financial details with the borrowers’. This may even prevent you from getting a mortgage, as lenders may see you are committed to someone else’s loan.

3. The Benefits of Being a Guarantor

Being a guarantor may have some benefits, particularly if the borrower meets their mortgage payments regularly. Acting as a guarantor helps build trust among people in your life, mainly if they rely on your support and guidance. Furthermore, the borrower can get mortgage access they wouldn’t have otherwise had, such as renting a home, buying a property, or paying for college. It can also help you prepare for potential financial responsibilities, such as helping your children, a family member or even a friend.

4. Legal Advice

Before signing any document, it’s important to seek legal advice. Legal advice helps identify and avoid any financial pitfalls associated with being a guarantor. These precautions include reviewing any legal documents and contracts, contacting the legal advice helpline to discuss the impact of the guarantor arrangement, assessing the risks to your credit score and budget, and ensuring that you understand the legal rights and responsibilities that you’ll have as a guarantor.

Becoming a guarantor for someone’s mortgage is a massive responsibility. It’s important to understand the risks, benefits and seek legal advice before signing any papers. Assess your financial position and ensure you can afford to take on someone’s mortgage payments before committing. Additionally, consider your relationship with the borrower, as this could impact your legal responsibilities. Ultimately, being a guarantor can be a rewarding experience. It can be a significant way to help someone closest to you, but it’s also important to remember that being a guarantor comes with financial risks and legal obligations. When in doubt, seek advice from a trusted financial advisor.

Need more clarification before signing anything on the dotted line? Reach out to us for assistance and advice and we would be happy to help!

Completing Your New Home Purchase

Congratulations on your recent Real Estate purchase! Buying a home is an exciting time, to ensure closing your property goes smoothly there are some important matters to attend to prior to your possession date.


If you are placing a new mortgage on your newly purchased home, it is important to ensure that all conditions of the mortgage are satisfied promptly. In the event these conditions are not met in a timely manner, interest costs may be incurred or possession may be delayed until all conditions are met to the satisfaction of the lender. 

If you are purchasing your new home with proceeds sourced from the sale of an existing property, and the possession of your new home is on or before the date for the possession of the property that you are selling, it may be necessary to arrange “bridge” financing. Your mortgage broker will be able to arrange this for you. 

Don’t forget to book your appointment 1-2 weeks prior to your closing date.


It is important to properly budget for legal fees as part of your closing costs. Ensure your lawyer is open with you about what fees are, and are not, included in the fee quoted, as well as what ‘surprise’ charges you may incur

At Summit Legal Group we strive to deliver the best possible legal service for reasonable and competitive fees. To avoid any unpleasant ‘surprise’ charges, we offer flat rate legal fees for Real Estate transactions which are inclusive of all regular disbursements and GST where applicable.

Included in our basic fees are the following:

  • Receipt of conveyancing and mortgage instructions;

  • Order Title and Tax searches;

  • Comprehensive review of existing Land Title;

  • Preparation of relevant transfer and mortgage documents;

  • Contact and meet with you to review and execute all documents;

  • Submission of executed documents to Land Titles office for registration;

  • Receipt and review of registered documents;

  • Receipt and forwarding of trust funds;

  • Forwarding of reports to you and your mortgage company.

If your transaction poses unexpected and extra time consuming difficulties, additional costs may result. Usually, such difficulties include Real Property Report non-compliance issues, such as encroachments or development permit applications. Title insurance may be required by your lender with associated costs.

YOUR APPOINTMENT (1-2 Weeks Prior to Close)

Once your lawyer has received all necessary documentation from you, your realtor and mortgage company, they will schedule your signing appointment. Any cash shortfall, funds required in addition to your initial deposit and mortgage proceeds will be due at this time.


Release of Keys:

On the day of possession, your real estate agent may offer a walk-through of your new home to ensure it is in good condition. Keys will be provided to you at this time. If you discover any significant damage to the property, I strongly recommend that you contact your lawyer immediately to discuss legal remedies.


You will need to arrange connection of the various utilities and related services by contacting the relevant providers of cable, electricity, gas, telephone, television, water and sewer. You may also wish to have your mail redirected to your new address.


To arrange for the appropriate insurance to be placed on the home your insurance company will require the date of possession, legal description of your property and an ownership description.

Property Taxes and Community Association Fees:

Your lawyer will adjust all real property taxes, community association fees and condo fees (if any), as of your possession date. If you wish to register for the monthly Tax Instalment Payment Plan (T.I.P.P.) with the City of Calgary, you may do so by calling 311 or 403.234.7480 or by requesting a T.I.P.P. application online via


It is likely that the purchase contract required the seller to provide a current Real Property Report to the buyer. The Real Property Report is a one-page survey of the lands, indicating the legal boundaries and any improvements on the land including the home, decks, air conditioning units and fences. We strongly recommend that you store this document in a safe place, as you may need it in the future should you decide to sell or refinance your home.