Reat Estate Jargon Decoded

New to real estate law in Toronto? Or maybe you’ve finally decided to make your next move now that the market is steadily recovering after almost coming to a halt in April due to COVID-19 … in May and June, sales even exceeded those of 2019 in some areas of the city. In this post we decode real estate jargon in order to help you better understand the ins and outs of buying, selling or refinancing your home!

MOBILAW may be the new kid on the block in Toronto, but its founder and president has almost 20 years of real estate law experience. Yes, we have a cool name and a colourful logo, but we are an established law firm with a modern twist! What sets us apart is that we are a truly mobile law firm bringing a fully-equipped office to clients’ doorsteps with an actual lawyer – not a paralegal – for final signing and to answer all your questions during what is most likely the biggest transaction of your life! So, if you’re buying, selling or refinancing a home and are looking for a convenient and cost effective real estate lawyer in the GTA, we can definitely help you navigate your first transaction with confidence and ease.

To further help you benefit from our expertise, we have compiled a glossary of terms that will help decode the jargon sometimes used by realtors, mortgage brokers and … yes, we are guilty too … real estate lawyers.

Agreement of Purchase and Sale: the contract created once an offer has been accepted

Binder Letter: a letter from an insurance company confirming that the property will be insured as of a specific date, showing the amount of coverage and the names of the mortgagees

Caveat Emptor: a Latin term that means “let the buyer beware”

Charge/Mortgage: a loan secured against real property

Chargee/Mortgagee: the lender

Chargor/Mortgagor: the borrower

Chattels: movable possessions not attached to the real property

Deposit: part of the purchase price prepaid when the contract is entered into and applied against the purchase price

Disbursements: a lawyer’s out-of-pocket- expenses

Escrow: holding of funds or documents, keys, and money by the lawyers pending the registration of the electronic documents

Fixtures: immovable possessions attached to the real property, or chattels that have become attached or affixated to the real property

Joint Tenants: two or more people owning property where on the death of one, the survivors inherit the deceased’s share

Matrimonial Home: the term is defined under the Family Law Act to include every property in which a person has an interest and that is or was, at the time of separation, occupied by the spouses as their family residence

Parcel Register: the book in the Land Titles system that records all the registered instruments in land

Real Property: land, including everything that is attached to it

Right of Way: right to use a portion of another’s land for access purposes

Spousal Consent: consent of the spouse of the owner on title to the transfer or mortgage of a matrimonial home, required under the Family Law Act

Status Certificate: a certificate from the Condominium Corporation that includes, among other things, financial information, the names and address for services of all directors and offices, and the declaration

Survivorship Application: a document registered on title to delete the name of a deceased joint tenant

Tenants in Common:  two or more people owning property where on the death of one, the deceased person’s share passes to his or her heirs rather than to the other owners; no right of survivorship.

Conversations about real estate, whether with your lawyer, realtor or banker, can get confusing pretty fast, and this glossary will give you enough knowledge to get you started. We will cover the rest, so that you make the best decision for you and your family.