Commercial Purchases and Sales


The cost of purchasing a piece of commercial property is generally greater than the price of the property itself. A lawyer can help with many aspects of property buying that will help you avoid additional costs in the future. Your lawyer can check the Agreement of Purchase and Sale for problems, certify title, check for municipal taxes, arrange a mortgage, arrange the transfer of title and funds, and protect you legal interests in every aspect of purchasing or selling your property.


Checking the Agreement of Purchase and Sale for Problems

One of the major problems in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale are conditional clauses. In the majority of cases, the Agreement contains some sort of clause that starts 'This contract is subject to'. If your Agreement is subject to anything being done, it is important that you understand what your responsibility is under the Agreement. For example, it is likely that your Agreement is subject to your being able to arrange a mortgage. The Agreement usually allows you a limited number of days to arrange this mortgage. If, for any reason, a mortgage cannot be arranged and you have not provided proper notice, you may be forced to buy the property, or you may find yourself in a lawsuit, or you may forfeit the deposit.


Searching and Certifying the Title

Your lawyer searches back over a period of time, usually from forty to sixty years, to ensure that there is a chain of title showing the ownership of the property to be properly in the name of the person from whom you are buying the property. This search is made at the Registry of Deeds. Your lawyer will read all the deeds, mortgages, wills or other documents pertaining to the property. In these searches, your lawyer will discover certain discrepancies in the title such as judgments, outstanding mortgages or incorrect conveyances. Your lawyer can most often work out these matters and clear the title in cooperation with the Seller's lawyer.


The search of title will also indicate whether or not the property is subject to restrictive covenants, easements or right of ways.


Land Registry System and Migration

As of December 1, 2004 any property sold in the Halifax region must be transferred or 'migrated' into the Land Registry System. This one time transfer can be done by either seller or purchaser but must be concluded by time the property closes. If the land has already been migrated into the registry system the actual title search done is much quicker resulting in a savings to both parties.


Arrange the Transfer of Title and Funds

On the closing date, the Seller will provide the deed to the property and keys to the premises. Well in advance of closing, your lawyer will advise you of the amount of money you will need to complete the transaction. After the deed is received, the Seller is paid and your lawyer will take care of registering your deed at the Registry of Deeds and any other necessary documentation.




Residential Purchases and Sales


Buying a house, especially your first house, is an exciting time and hopefully it will also be a good experience. Many prospective buyers don't fully understand all of the potential problems of buying a home in Nova Scotia and the fact that it will likely cost more than was originally expected. A lawyer who is experienced in real estate will be of considerable assistance to you.


Checking the Agreement of Purchase and Sale for Problems

In the majority of cases, we do not see the Agreement of Purchase and Sale until it has been signed. Thus, as soon as possible we would like to examine the Agreement in an attempt to avoid problems and to help you understand your Agreement fully


One of the major problems in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale are conditional clauses. In the majority of cases, the Agreement contains some sort of clause that starts 'This contract is subject to'. If your Agreement is subject to anything being done, it is important that you understand what your responsibility is under the Agreement. For example, it is likely that your Agreement is subject to your being able to arrange a mortgage. The Agreement usually allows you a limited number of days to arrange this mortgage. If, for any reason, a mortgage cannot be arranged and you have not provided proper notice, you may be forced to buy the property, or you may find yourself in a lawsuit, or you may forfeit the deposit.


Searching and Certifying the Title

The lawyer is to search back over a period of time, usually from forty to sixty years, to ensure that there is a chain of title showing the ownership of the property to be properly in the name of the person from whom you are buying the property. This search is made at the Registry of Deeds. We will read all the deeds, mortgages, wills or other documents pertaining to the property. In these searches, we will discover certain discrepancies in the title such as judgments, outstanding mortgages or incorrect conveyances. We can most often work out these matters and clear the title in cooperation with the Seller's lawyer.


The search of title will also indicate whether or not the property is subject to restrictive covenants, easements or right of ways. The majority of new homes built in subdivisions are usually subject to restrictive covenants. These are covenants that restrict the owner of the property from doing certain things with the property, such as a commercial venture, building no more than one house on the lot or that a fence cannot be higher than a certain number of feet.


Land Registry System and Migration

As of December 1, 2004 any property sold in the Halifax region must be transferred or 'migrated' into the new Land Registry System. This one time transfer can be done by either seller or purchaser but must be concluded by time the property closes. If the land has already been migrated into the registry system the actual title search done is much quicker resulting in a savings to both parties.


Checking for Municiple Taxes

We will obtain a tax certificate from the municipality to ensure that the taxes are fully paid to date. If the taxes are in arrears, an adjustment will be made at the time of closing to make sure that the Seller pays all taxes that are his responsibility.


Arrange a Mortgage and secure it for the Mortgage Company

Once you have been approved for a mortgage, we will deal with the mortgage company directly to acquire all the necessary documentation along with the mortgage funds. Once the mortgage funds have been advanced, we will register the mortgage document with the Registry of Deeds.


Arrange the Transfer of Title and Funds

On the closing date, the Seller will provide the deed to the property and keys to the premises. After the deed is received, the Seller is paid and we will take care of registering your deed at the Registry of Deeds and any other necessary documentation.


One of the major concerns is the amount of money required on the closing date. Well in advance of closing, we will advise you of the amount of money you will need to complete the transaction. The amount required should be by cheque and made payable to �Philip Whitehead In Trust�.


Protect your Interest

Our most important role is to represent your interest in the transaction. This includes advising you in relation to how to take title to the property, confirming insurance, and explaining the "closing costs" and providing advice in relation to any issues that come up.


We provide you legal services that will keep you fully informed at every stage of the transaction so that you can make informed decisions.




While care has been taken to ensure the information contained herein is accurate, the information provided is based upon the laws of Nova Scotia and is supplied for general interest purposes only. It is not intended, nor should be considered to be specific legal advice or opinion.


Last Revised by Philip Whitehead, December 28 2015.


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