Vancouver Notary Public; David Watts, has recorded this 11:30 minute video to describe in a step by step way; exactly what the Conveyancing process is for transferring Property in British Columbia.  While there are many generalizations; you can see how it works by way of flow chart diagrams and David’s explanation.  This considers both the Buyer’s and Seller’s points of view as they relate to the real estate transfer, with a new Mortgage for the Buyer and discharging the existing Mortgage for the Seller.  There are several variations as all transactions are unique, but our process to make sure we have covered everything is the same. If you have any questions about any parts of our Conveyancing process, feel free to phone or email any time.  If you are in the process of buying or selling a Property; or your client is in the process of buying or selling; or perhaps refinancing a Mortgage – we would greatly appreciate the opportunity to do this work for you. Feel free to contact the office of David Watts Notary Public (tel: 604 685 7786 or email: ) any time. Thank you for reading this and watching the video.  If you liked it – please tell a friend or colleague; please leave comments; and please feel free to post/share using your preferred methods.

Beginning of the Purchase Process – When you start the purchase process, you typically find a Realtor to help you find the perfect Property; and a Mortgage Broker or institutional Lender to lend the money to buy the Property.  A Mortgage is the legal charge that is registered against the Property to secure the loan from the Lender.  Before going to find properties, it is important to work with a Mortgage Broker or institutional Lender to determine how much of a Mortgage you can qualify for and to make sure that all of the Lender’s conditions can or will be met.  Once you are satisfied that you have your financing arranged and Mortgage commitment in place; you know what type of budget you have to work with.  The Mortgage Broker puts together the deal between the Borrower(Buyer) and Lender. Realtors act as agents when you buy or sell real estate.  In most cases, both the Buyer and Seller will have their own Realtor working for them.  In some cases, only one Realtor acts for both parties.  The Listing Realtor works for the Seller to market and sell the Property.  The Selling Realtor assists the Buyer to evaluate properties, offer their expertise of the local market and buildings in the local market as well as help to negotiate and write up the Contract of Purchase and Sale.  The Realtors put together the Contract of Purchase and sale which sets out the details of the transaction including the Property, Price, Dates, Parties involved, as well as any special conditions that may be specific to each transaction. Once there is a Contract of Purchase and Sale where all subjects have been removed; and there is a Mortgage commitment where all conditions have been met; the Realtor’s office sends conveyance instructions, including the Contract and the Lender sends Mortgage instructions to our office and we begin our review of the documents.

Once we receive these documents; we begin our due diligence process.  The first thing we review is the Title to the Property.  We confirm that the Contract matches the title in terms of making sure the Seller on the Contract is the Registered Owner of the Property and that the Property’s legal description on title is the same as the Contract.  We also look for things such as Mortgages, caveats, judgements, liens and other charges on title that are the responsibility of the Seller to pay out and discharge.  When you buy the Property, it should be free of financial encumbrances.  We also determine if there are any easements, Statutory Rights of Way or other charges that would limit the way a Property can be used.  We want to make sure you know exactly what you are buying.  We conduct a tax search to confirm that all taxes are paid up to date.  We contact the Strata Management Company – if it’s a Condo – to confirm that all strata fees are up to date and to confirm details of any special assessments or other levies that are outstanding.  Any charges that have been incurred by the Seller should be paid by the Seller. We make sure this is what happens.  We obtain a Form F – Certificate of Payment and a Form B – Information Certificate. We also confirm that there is insurance in place on the Property, whether it’s the building’s insurance or you may need a new insurance policy (if you are purchasing a house); and we confirm that the Lender is named as first loss payable on the policy.  If necessary, we will also order a Survey of the Property or Title Insurance; depending on the Lender’s requirements and client’s instructions.   With all of this information – we now have what we need to prepare the transaction documents.

We are preparing two sets of documents – one for the Seller to sign; and one for the Buyer/Borrower to sign. For the Buyer/Borrower – we have a set of Mortgage documents, which often includes the Mortgage Commitment, Cost of Borrowing Disclosure Statement, various tax and insurance documents, prepared by the Lender; and the Form B – Mortgage as well as other declarations prepared by us and a set of purchase documents including the Property Transfer Tax Return and Buyer’s Statement of Adjustments.  We meet to explain and sign all of these documents, as well as review the title and plan of the Property.  At this time we confirm our client’s identification.  The Buyer typically also brings a bank draft to the signing appointment for the balance required to complete the transaction.  We always email draft copies of all of the documents with a brief explanation in advance of our meeting; including the amount for the Bank Draft.  During our meeting – we make sure everything is explained and all questions are answered. For the Seller, we prepare the Form A – Freehold Transfer, Seller’s Statement of Adjustments, HST Certificate, Residency Declaration, Parking Stall/Storage Locker Assignment (if a condo) and Site Survey Declaration (if a survey is available).  We send these documents to the Seller’s notary who reviews them, explains everything and signs with their client – the Seller.  The Seller’s notary will also have ordered a payout statement for the Mortgage(s) on title and have prepared an Order to Pay to determine how much the Seller will get and how the proceeds will be distributed.  They also confirm their client’s identification. Once everything is signed with the Seller, the Seller’s notary returns the executed documents to the Buyer’s notary on the undertaking not to use the signed documents until we are ready to complete and payout the transaction.  An undertaking is an irrevocable promise made by one notary or lawyer to another for which we are personally liable.  Undertakings are also used to promise to make certain payouts and provide reporting as applicable. Once the documents are all signed by both Buyer and Seller, we can order funds from the Lender, deposit the balance of funds from the Buyer; and confirm we have the excess deposit from the Realtor’s office – we should be ready for completion.

We review the signed Seller’s documents by checking to make sure that everything is signed and correctly witnessed.  Often documents are signed outside of Canada so we ensure that they will be acceptable to the Land Title Office.  We confirm the results of our Strata information requests.  We make sure that we have our Form F – Certificate of Payment as well as our Form B – Information Certificate.  We confirm that the Seller (by signing the Seller’s Statement of Adjustments) has agreed to pay any outstanding strata fees, penalties, charges and/or liens.  We confirm that we have our insurance binder which names our Lender as loss payable on the building insurance as it pertains to this unit (or on the house insurance).  We confirm Property taxes are paid up to date, or that we have an undertaking from the Seller’s notary to pay them from the sale proceeds.  We confirm that our Mortgage has funded, or that there are no outstanding conditions to be met prior to funding.  Some Lenders will only fund the Mortgage once we have registered it. Once we check everything – we are ready to file our Form A – Application to Transfer ownership of the Property, Form F – Certificate of Payment (assuming it’s a Condo – Strata Property), Property Transfer Tax Return, and our Form B – Mortgage (assuming money is borrowed to finance the purchase). We start with a Pre-registration title search.  We confirm that there have been no new charges registered against the Property by comparing it to the search we did when we opened the file.  If everything looks good – we then proceed to Efile our document package.  This is done by me (the notary) digitally signing the documents in a secure way; and then uploading directly to the Land Title Office computers.  This takes a few seconds.  We then get confirmation “Document File” numbers that our application has been received and we are able to save copies of the registered documents.  We must wait 1 hour to confirm that there have been no other applications registered in the Land Title Office against the Property.  We do our Post-registration search to confirm this.  Once we have a successful Post – we are ready to report on the transaction and pay proceeds. We call the Seller’s notary to let them know that sale proceeds are available for pick up.  We deliver the funds on the undertaking that they will be used to pay any existing Mortgages, outstanding taxes or other Seller accounts.  If the Seller is a Non-Resident of Canada – there is an additional process of withholding partial sale proceeds pending receipt of a Canada Revenue Agency – Certificate of Compliance Related to the Disposition of Canadian Real Property by a Non-Resident of Canada.  We also send faxes to the listing and selling real estate offices to let them know the transaction has completed.  We mail any balance of real estate commissions unless the Realtor’s have advised that they would like to pick up their commission.  After receipt of this confirmation – the Realtor’s will go about exchanging keys for the Property and the Buyer will then be able to take possession of the Property.  Most times – the possession date is the day after completion. Next we are able to give our final reporting to the Buyer and to the Lender.  We give our legal opinion to the Buyer and Lender; that the title to the Property has now transferred and the Buyer is now the Registered Owner; and to the Lender that their loan is secured by a charge registered against the title of the Property in first priority.  We send copies of all of the registered documents as well as the copies with signatures to both Buyer and Lender.  We scan and keep an electronic copy for our file.

Post Completion When the Seller’s notary receives the sale proceeds – they pay the existing Mortgage(s), any outstanding Property taxes, Builder’s Liens, and anything else that they have given their undertakings to pay or do.  They provide the Buyer’s notary with proof and confirmation that they have done so by sending confirmation of the Lender’s receipt of the existing mortgage payout.  The Seller’s notary then is able to deliver the balance of funds to the Seller.  This usually happens the day after completion; as by the time funds are delivered by the courier and deposited to the bank, and cheques are prepared and signed – it is usually the next day. When the Seller’s notary delivers the Mortgage payout to the existing Lender, they also enclose a Form C – Discharge of Mortgage for the Lender to sign and send back to the Seller’s notary.  The Lender must do this within 30 days.  The Seller’s notary will then register the Discharge of Mortgage and provide a copy of the registered Discharge to the Buyer’s notary.  The Buyer’s notary will then be able to order a State of Title Certificate – which is a document very similar to a title search; but it is signed by the Registrar of the Land Title Office as their guarantee that at the time it was printed; that the Property is owned by the Registered Owner shown on title (the Buyer) and that this ownership is subject to the new Mortgage which is now shown to be registered in first position.  Upon receipt of the State of Title Certificate – we scan a copy for file; delivery a copy to the Buyer (now registered owner) and send the original to the Lender. This is the final step in the conveyance process.  We would now scan any remaining notes and documents; destroy all paper copies; and close our file. If you have any questions about any parts of our Conveyancing process, feel free to phone or email any time.  If you are in the process of buying or selling a Property; or your client is the process of buying or selling; or perhaps refinancing a Mortgage – we would greatly appreciate the opportunity to do this work for you. Feel free to contact me any time. Thank you for reading this and watching the video.  If you liked it – please tell a friend or colleague; please leave comments; and please feel free to post/share using your preferred methods. Best regards, David Watts, Notary Public Phone: 604 685 7786 Email: Web:

As we approach the end of the year one of the things you may not be thinking about is claiming your Home Owners’ Grant. The Home Owner’s Grant is a base amount of $570.00 off your property taxes if the property is your primary resident; this amount is different if you are a senior citizen. What is important to remember is that if you’re a First Time Home Buyer and your lender pays your property taxes on your behalf, this process needs to be done by you. You may have already claimed your Grant when you received your tax notice, but if not, then claiming your Home Owners’ Grant can be done in few different ways:

  1. Electronically on the city’s website




North Vancouver




Port Coquitlam

Port Moody


Pitt Meadows

2. Signing the application sheet connected to the Property Tax form that was sent with your tax balance to your residents and mailing it back.

3. Print a Home Owners’ Grant Claim for off the city’s website fill it out completely and mail it the city.

The Home Owners’ Grant needs to be claimed and received on or before December 31 of the current tax year. If you have any question in regards about claiming your Home Owners’ Grant, especially if you are a first time home buyer or if your property taxes are paid by your lender please call or email:

David Watts

Notary Public

Sound Legal Advice with a Tradition of Trust

David Watts, Notary Public discusses his process for preparing Wills.

To have a Will prepared by David Watts; the first step is to call our office at 604-685-7786 or email to receive a quote with an attached Will’s worksheet by email. The quote also has a video which explains the process. Once you have filled out the worksheet, we ask that you contact our office to set up an appointment to review the worksheet with David and to go over additional questions and/or estate planning documents, such as: Power of Attorney, Representation Agreement, or Living Will; which you may want to prepare along with your Will. At the end of your appointment, we will set a second appointment to return to our office to sign your fully prepared will. Before your return to our office to sign your prepared Will, David will email a draft copy of your documents for your review before signing. After everything has been reviewed and signed, we will register a Will’s Notice which indicates the date the Will was signed and the location in which the original Will is kept. You will receive a copy of this notice by email once it has been received in our office. If you have any questions about Wills please call or email:

David Watts
Notary Public

Sound Legal Advice with a Tradition of Trust.

When you are purchasing property in British Columbia there is an exemption for property transfer tax for first time home buyers’. In order to claim this exemption there are five qualifications that need to be met.

1. The individual(s) that claim the exemption must be BC permanent resident(s) for a full year before completion, or have filed tax returns showing BC Residency in 2 of the last 6 years; and
2. The buyers must by Canadian citizen(s) or permanent residents, ;
3. The property must be occupied by the individual(s) as their Principle Residence that claim this exemption for a full year after completion.
4. The property must be purchased for less than $425,000.00 for a full exemption and less than $450,000 for a partial exemption; and
5. It must be the first property purchased by the individual(s) as their principal residence.

This exemption can be claimed if the individual(s) obtain Canadian citizenship or permanent residency within a year after completion of the purchase; as long as they make that claim within 18 months.

If you have any questions about British Columbia First Time Home Buyers Exemption on Property Transfer Tax; or if you are buying or selling a property please call or email:

David Watts
Notary Public

Sound Legal Advice with a Tradition of Trust.

After winning Georgia Straight’s Best of Vancouver – Lawyer/Notary to use for Buying and Selling Real Estate for 2009, David Watts, Notary Public has been voted Georgia Straight’s Best of Vancouver – Lawyer to use for Buying and Selling Real Estate for 2010.

David would like to thank all the clients that have used his services throughout the years as well as all the mortgage brokers, realtors and bankers who have trusted our office with their clients. In addition, David Watts would like to thank his all star conveyancing staff: Natashia Kothlow and Brandi Durham for all their hard work. David Watts, Natashia Kothlow and Brandi Durham happily thank everyone who voted.

If you are buying or selling a property; or refinancing; and you need someone to handle the paperwork (conveyancing) for the property or refinance please call or email: If you know anyone who may be involved in the process or will be soon involved in the process they can find lots of information at our website: David is also always available to help explain everything to anyone new to the process, especially First Time Home Buyers. Feel free to phone any time.

Thank you once again!

David Watts
Notary Public

Sound Legal Advice with a Tradition of Trust.

To Efile means to electronically file real estate documents with the BC Land Title Office using their “Electronic Filing System” or “EFS”. Some Notary and law offices take the original signed documents, drive them down the Land Title Office in New Westminster, have them stamped there and then have them driven back. This form of registration is slow, expensive and involves unnecessary car trips. What our office does is E-File the transaction; which means we take your original signed documents; I sign the documents with an adobe digital signature and then have them uploaded to the BC Land Title Office via the provincial government’s BC Online Electronic Filing System. This service is faster, easier and more cost effective. The method of Efiling is not done by all Notary offices, but it is done by my office, David Watts Notary Corporation. If you are buying property or refinancing your mortgage, confirm your notary or real estate lawyer is Efiling.  If you have any questions about E-Filing or you are buying or selling a property please call or email:

David Watts

Notary Public

Sound Legal Advice with a Tradition of Trust.

One of the things notary public’s prepare is Powers of Attorney. We had a client come in with a really good idea for a Power of Attorney; her son is going away to school in Ontario, and so he gave his mom Power of Attorney. This was done so that while he is away at school if there is anything that needs to be signed for him in Vancouver it can be done by his mom. In this instance, Power of Attorney is not only used for real estate transactions or selling a car but for more day to day things like picking stuff up at the post office. If you have any questions about Power of Attorney please call or email:

David Watts

Notary Public

Sound Legal Advice with a Tradition of Trust.

"See David Watts' Article on Page 68"

As March was recently recognized a Fraud Prevention month by a number of organizations; I wrote an article for the Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia’s  Scrivener Magazine on the topic of Fraud.  I talk about an experience I had with a series of forged cheques in my trust account.  No losses every occurred for myself or any of my clients.  The bank or the bank’s insurers ultimately covered what amounted to about $50,000 made up of 6 fraudulent cheques.  Here is a link to the story and the magazine; on page 68.

David Watts, Notary Public

If you own your home and pay taxes, you should read this:

There are two new tax credits that are relevant for home owners in preparing 2009 Personal Canadian Income Taxes.  The First Time Home Buyer’s Tax Credit and the Home Renovation Tax Credit.  If you or your accountant missed claiming these items; it is pretty easy to claim them now yourself.

The First Time Home Buyer’s Tax Credit is actually referred to as the “Home Buyer’s Amount” and can be found at Line 369 on Schedule 1 of your income tax return.  If you bought a home between January 27 and year end; and you did not live in another home owned by you or your spouse or common-law partner in the year of acquisition or in any of the four preceding years; you can claim the credit of $5,000, which works out to tax savings of $750.00.  Here is the link to the Canada Revenue Agency page with more information:

The Home Renovation Tax Credit at Line 368 on Schedule 1 allows you to add up your receipts for items such as new appliances or home renovation work (see here for qualifying expenses) ; and you get a credit for up to $10,000 worth of receipts.  Your first $1,000 receives no credit.  It applies to work performed or goods acquired after January 27, 2009, and before February 1, 2010.  You need to enter the information from each receipt on Schedule 12. This results in a maximum non-refundable tax credit of $1,350 [($10,000 − $1,000) × 15%].  For more information on how to claim this credit; see here:

If you filed your return without claiming without claiming one or both of these credits; and you are entitled to them, you can prepare a T1 Adjustment .  Its relatively straightforward.  For Part A, just put your name, address, Social Insurance number, and state the 2009 Tax Year.  In Part C:

Line    Description                            Previous        Amount of Change  Corrected

368     Home Renovation Tax Credit        0          $result of Schedule 12       $____

369     Home Buyer Amount                      0          $5,000.00                            $5,000

You should include a completed Schedule 12 (do not send in receipts, but keep them in case CRA wants to see them) for the Home Renovation Tax Credit; and a copy of your Statement of Adjustments to support your Home Buyer Amount.

Mail this to:    Canada Revenue Agency (T1 Adjustments)

Surrey Tax Centre

9755 King George Highway

Surrey, BC V3T 5E1

CRA will recalculate your T1 General Income Tax Return; and if they agree with your submission, which they should; they will send you a refund.  You can expect it to take anywhere for 4 to 12 weeks.

I hope this is helpful.

David Watts

Notary Public

Today is Earth Day.  It’s a good time to think about what you can do in your home or office to lessen your impact on the environment.

Most of us are pretty good at recycling –  we throw our garbage in the garbage, pop cans in the blue box, and paper goes in its recycling box.

However, it is more important to think about Reduce and then Reuse; so there isn’t so much to Recycle.

These are a few of the changes I’ve made in my office over the past year:

  1. Paper reduction – we now receive all faxes electronically rather than printing.  We have two large monitors at each work station; one to read from and one to write to.  With real estate conveyancing, we used to have 3 paper copies of each documents – File, Client and Bank. We have changed that to one copy.  After it is signed; we scan it.  That is our File copy; and we also email that to our Client. In most cases we mail the signed paper to the Bank, or if not needed by the bank; we return to our Client. We do not keep a paper copy.  Many “paperless” offices scan their copies and then shred and recycle them – make sure your service provider is not printing what they don’t need.
  2. Lights – We all remember Earth Hour; turning your lights off for 1 hour.  When you come into my office, you will see that lights are usually turned off.  We have several bright windows; and our computer monitors provide sufficient back lighting.  Not too big a deal, but I expect it makes a difference over time.
  3. Water – We used to have a Water Cooler, which had a 5 gallon water supply delivered by truck in plastic jugs.  I have canceled that account – Sorry Canadian Springs.  We are drinking tap water.
  4. Transit – Starting January 1 of this year, I provide all of my staff with monthly transit passes.
  5. Advocate – We think about what we do and we tell others about it.  Together we can make a difference.

A few small changes make a big difference over time.  What can you do?

David Watts, Notary Public