I was very happy to learn that for the 3rd straight year, we’ve been voted First Place in the Georgia Straight’s Best of Vancouver in the category of “Lawyer (or Notary) to use when Buying or Selling Real Estate”.

Thank you again to everyone who voted!  Thank you also to my awesome staff – Natashia and Brandi – for all your hard work and helping us deliver the Best conveyancing in the Vancouver area.  Thank you also to all of our referral partners – Realtors, Mortgage Brokers, and Banks who continue to trust us with your clients.  Some reasons people have supported us are:

  • Core Values – “Excellent Customer Service, Efficiency & Green/Sustainable Practice”:  Everything we do in our residential real estate conveying process is based on our core values.  If it doesn’t reflect our core values, we don’t do it.
  • Experience –  since becoming a notary; my firm has grown each year (except 2010); and we are on pace for the biggest year yet:
  1. 2006 – 26 conveyances
  2. 2007 – 132 conveyances
  3. 2008 – 216 conveyances
  4. 2009 – 396 conveyances
  5. 2010 – 381 conveyances
  6. 2011 – 345 files to date; on pace for 460 conveyances.
  •  We work hard with each file and each file is different.  We work with a variety of clients; most of whom are purchasing homes (many are first time home buyers); but also people selling their homes (some of whom are non-resident); refinancing and renewing mortgages and working with estates and family transfers.
  • Our biggest source of business is referrals from people who trust us on an ongoing basis.  We thank the many Realtors and Mortgage Brokers who send their clients to us.

If you have a client, friend, co-worker, colleague or anyone else you may know who is in the process of buying or selling a home; or refinancing/renewing their mortgage; please give them our contact information and we would be pleased to take care of their transaction.

We want our clients to have an excellent conveyance experience.  If there is anything we can do to assist the process or answer any questions; please let me know.

Thank you again for your support.

David Watts, Notary Public

#1602 – 675 West Hastings Street

Vancouver, BC V6B 1N2

Tel: 604 685 7786

Fax: 604 685 7796

www.davidnotary.com

Real Estate Transfers – Wills – Notarizations

Winner of Georgia Straight’s Best of Vancouver 2009, 2010 and 2011  in the Category of “ Best Lawyer/Notary Public to use when Buying/Selling Real Estate” Read the rest of this entry »

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: david@davidnotary.com ) 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: david@davidnotary.com Web: www.davidnotary.com

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: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/hbtc/

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) http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/sgmnts/hmwnr/hrtc/lgbl-xpns-eng.html ; 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: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/sgmnts/hmwnr/hrtc/clmng-eng.html

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

www.davidnotary.com

http://twitter.com/davidnotary

Best of Vancouver Winner

I have been voted by readers of the Georgia Straight as First Choice – Best of Vancouver – in the category of “Lawyer to Use when Buying or Selling Real Estate”.

I would like to thank all of those who voted for me. To all off my clients; it has been my privilege to work with you to help you buy and sell your homes. I would also like to thank the bankers, realtors; and mortgage brokers I have met over the past 3 and ½ years who have trusted me with your clients. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.

I am really excited looking forward. We have seen an incredible recovery in the Vancouver Real Estate Market both in terms of volumes and housing prices. I believe in the long term; Vancouver is a great place to live and home owner’s investments will be protected.

I’m also excited that Canada Line is operating. As many of you know, my office is located in Downtown Vancouver across the street from Waterfront Station. I am now even more connected with Yaletown, the Broadway Corridor, Oakridge and Richmond all just minutes away.

Over the past year, as with many of us, I have experienced challenges in my business. In these times, I have taken this opportunity to upgrade our technology and refine our systems. Despite being a small firm, I believe we can deliver great value and maintain our commitment to excellent service. I would especially like to thank Brandi Durham and Natashia Kothlow; my awesome staff for their ongoing support and hard work; especially over these past very busy months.

If you or anyone you know is buying or selling their home; or refinancing their current mortgage and they need someone to handle the conveyance process; please pass along my contact information. I would also appreciate it if you’d let me know that you’ve done so as I would like the opportunity to thank you.

Thank you very much, have a great day!

David Watts, Notary Public

– Sound Legal Advice with a Tradition of Trust.

This a video of a talk I did on July 22, 2009 at the Terminal City Club in Downtown Vancouver talking about changes I’ve made to my business and Real Estate Purchase and Sale files to make us a significantly “paper reduced” office.

We will continue to refine our processes and I will post further information about how we do files as efficiently as possible.

Best time to Buy?

May 16, 2009

Interesting to read the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA)’s report this week indicating that April was the third consecutive month of increasing home sales in BC. It seams cliché to say “this is a good time to buy” but it seems that many people are agreeing that it is. Whether we are now at the bottom and end of the current price correction will remain to be seen, but does it really matter? When buying real estate, your holding period will generally be long term. People flipping pre-sales will not comeback anytime soon; but for people who want to buy a home to live in or a property to hold as a investment; this may be a best time to enter the market. While the Bank of Canada has indicated interest rates will be set until summer of 2010, I believe the market will force change over the next year. In speaking with mortgage brokers who’s opinions I respect, they note the long term bond rates are starting to move up and bank borrowing interest rates may follow. If we look at cost of real estate in terms of monthly cost, interest rate is a huge component. Whether the prices drop another 5 or 10 % over the next year seems irrelevant, if we can assume they will gain that back over the next 5 years and a 1% increase in borrowing interest rates would have a more significant in the purchaser’s real cost of real estate.

I know in my office, I can echo the BCREA report’s sales volume numbers. Our conveyance volume jumped in February after a quiet December and January. March and April continued to be busier and based on our May calender and volume of new deals coming in; I am confident that May and June will continue to demonstrate increased activity.

David Watts

http://www.davidnotary.com 2.0

February 16, 2009

I’d like to give you a quick tour of my new website, www.davidnotary.com.

 

I’ve switched a few things around, trimmed a little bit; and added a few new features.

 

Information that doesn’t really change about the things I do such as Real Estate Purchases, Sales, Mortgages; Wills and Powers of Attorney and General Notarization are still here; but they are more concisely organized and I got rid of the flash banner so the page loads faster.

 

One cool new feature that I’m excited about is the online “Live Help” support.  When it says “Online”, you can click on the button the start a live chat.  Its real time and so much faster than phoning or emailing when you just have a quick question, want a quote, or would like an update on your file. You will also receive by email a transcript of our conversation; and I keep a copy.

 

I got rid of the “About Me” section of the website because what I’m doing changes all the time.  What I have done instead is provide links to my social media profiles so you can find me on Facebook, check out my LinkedIn Profile, or follow me on Twitter. 

 

Finally, I have also added a Blog page where I intend to have both written and video blogs sharing information about the things I do; what I think about things; and as a forum to discuss new topics and ideas.

 

I hope you like it; I sure do; and if you any questions, you can always call or email me at david@davidnotary.com.  Thank you and have a great day!

 

With the chance of values we have experienced in the Vancouver Real Estate market, especially in Downtown condominium project; many people who have purchased Pre-Sales are now completing their purchases at significantly higher prices than the property would be worth if they were negotiate a deal today. As long as you don’t live in the property, you are purchasing an investment. Some investments go up and some go down. I think we are all pretty familiar with investments that go down these days. If you turned around and sold a property today, you would probably do so at a loss.

If there is a bright side to this, and its always good to try to find an opportunity or positive angle in times of turmoil; consider this: If you have paid tax on capital gains in recent years, you may be able to carry back this capital loss and apply it against previous years gains. You may be able to get a refund of previous year’s taxes by reporting a loss on your current year’s income tax return. If you do not have previous year’s gains, you can carry forward this capital loss until such time as you have a gain to which you can offset it.

I know we would all rather be worrying about how to pay less tax on our profits; but if its losses we currently have, we need to make the best of the situation.

If you have any questions you can ask the person who does your taxes; or you can always email or phone me, and I would be happy to discuss.

David Watts

Links:

CRA: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/menu-e.html
Net Capital Losses of Other Years: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/tpcs/ncm-tx/rtrn/cmpltng/ddctns/lns248-260/253/menu-eng.html