Buying Real Estate in Vancouver For U.S. Buyers


Jay or Brenda explains Agency relationships to Buyer. Jay or Brenda will outline the forms of Agency and give out the Working with a Real Estate Agent brochure, prepared by the BC Real Estate Association, which is to be signed by the Buyer in acknowledgement of receiving the Agency information.

Jay & Brenda represent the interests of the Buyer but the fees paid to them through RE/MAX Crest Realty as the Selling Broker come from the proceeds of the Sale. The Seller gives permission in the Listing Contract for the Listing Broker to pay the Selling Broker. In BC the Selling Broker holds the Buyer's deposit or earnest money in Trust till closing.

Jay or Brenda makes appointments to show suitable properties to the Buyer. Real estate practice in Vancouver differs from most other places. The listing agent of the property as well as the Buyer and Jay or Brenda attend the showings. This requires coordination of at least 3 persons' schedules and needs a longer lead time to organize. Spontaneous appointments are rare.

When the Buyer and Jay or Brenda find a suitable property that the Buyer wishes to purchase they prepare an offer to the Seller, known as a Contract of Purchase and Sale. As Jay & Brenda are acting for the Buyer under their Agency agreement they prepare background information on the subject property to help decide on an offering and possible final selling price. The Vancouver real estate market is very competitive and multiple offers from different buyers on the same property are common.

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The Buyer must wire funds for the deposit to the RE/MAX Crest Realty Trust Account upon acceptance of the Contract. The deposit required for US buyers is usually 10% of the sale price. These funds are included in the final purchase price at completion. There are delays of up to 14 days in receiving funds between US banks and Canadian banks or trust accounts. As providing the deposit in a timely fashion is a condition of the Contract of Purchase and Sale US buyers are advised to wire their deposits through a reliable third party banking service who can guarantee the safe arrival of the deposit within the required time frame. Jay and Brenda recommend the Canadian firm Custom House Global Foreign Exchange who are reliable and knowledgeable.

A Contract can be subject to financing, to inspection, to receiving all documents including title search, financial statements, status of the building etc. These subjects have to waived or removed by the Buyer by the date specified in the Contract.

When the Buyer has approved financing in place, is satisfied with the Home Inspection Report on the property, has read all the documentation on the property and has had all his questions answered then the Buyer removes subjects. This is done as an Amendment to the Contract of Purchase and Sale and the document is prepared by Jay & Brenda.

The closing date is usually two days earlier than the possession date for the Buyer. All adjustments are made to the possession date but this does mean that the Seller stays in the property for a specified length of time after receiving payment for it.

The transaction then moves onto the lawyers or notaries for preparation of legal documents to transfer the title to the Buyer.

There are Federal and Provincial taxes that must be addressed at this time.

Title and BC Law

British Columbia uses a modified Torrens system of registering land throughout the province. This means that in the Land Registry the name registered as the owner of the property is guaranteed by the government to be the legal owner. There is no need to search the root of title. There are no clouds on the title that are not in the Land Registry.

Title Insurance is not necessary as a general rule. In buying detached properties some buyers choose title insurance over paying for a physical land survey but title insurance is not that common.

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This guarantee of title means that the time between purchase and completion can be very short. Closing can be as few as 5 business days after removal of all subjects in the Contract.

The Buyer's lawyer or notary prepares or oversees all legal work to complete the transaction. The mortgage registration, the Statement of Adjustments (for settling all outstanding balances of taxes and fees payable), registration of title are responsibilities of the lawyer or notary. An experienced real estate lawyer can be helpful in having the transaction close with no problems.

There will need to be enough lead time allowed to get all this work completed by the contract dates.

Brenda & Jay will give the Buyer a list of qualified lawyers and notaries from which to choose. A ball park figure for real estate legal fees is $1200CDN + GST.

On the possession date at noon Jay or Brenda meets the Buyer with the keys and walks through the property with them before handing it over.

More Info

Jay Banks Jay Banks

If you found the above information useful, don't hesitate to contact me by email or by telephone at 604.240.9700 for a more in-depth conversation about your housing needs, whether your seeking is a vacation recreation home or a full-time residence. Vancouver is a great place to visit and even better place to live.

All the best!

Jay Banks

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