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Archive for the 'Parcel Register' Category

geo-title-of-a-propertyUnfortunately, during the process of the real estate closing, it is not uncommon for things to come up that the real estate lawyer identifies – things that you likely wish you’d noticed far earlier in the process. Over the years, the role of a real estate sales professional has become far more onerous – some buyers even include in their offer that they expect perfect title – and so we continually strive to make things a little easier.

How can you investigate the title of a property when traditionally it is the real estate lawyer’s role to perform a property title search?

To better understand this is to better understand what’s involved in a property title search. When many think of a property title search they are actually thinking of the Parcel Register*. You can learn a lot about a property’s title before a deal even gets to the real estate lawyer simply by reviewing the Parcel Register*.

The Parcel Register* is a document that includes an abundance of information about a property. It tells you the legal description of the property, who owns the property, the type and percentage of ownership – but what’s more is that it shows you:

  • A history of property transfers, amounts and parties
  • Registered mortgages
  • Registered liens

Some things that emerge on the Parcel Register* could have caused a delay on your deal while other issues could cause your deal to come to a grinding halt!

For example – a very common occurrence that causes delays on a closing are previously undischarged mortgages on title. This commonly occurs when the homeowner has paid off the mortgage but the lender failed to discharge it from the property’s title. While this can be resolved fairly simply once discovered, it can take a week or two to do so which can impact a closing. Learning of the existence of undischarged mortgages long before closing enables your client to take the required steps to resolve the issue and they will thank you for it. In truth, most homeowners are unaware and simply assume when a past mortgage was paid off that it was discharged.

In other situations, a lien can emerge on title which can create a serious issue if the amount of the lien exceeds the value of the property, which is common with tax liens.

Reviewing a Parcel Register* removes questions and ensures that you know as much about the title of the property that is the subject of the deal that you are working on. This leaves you closing more deals and appearing as the stealth professional you are to your client!

Parcel Registers* are available through GeoWarehouse – and not just to real estate lawyers.

Find out more by visiting www.geowarehouse.ca today.

*An official product of the Ontario government pursuant to provincial land registration statutes.


November 21, 2016

title-searchReal estate sales professional: aka sales guru, aka legal eagle, aka property expert… need we say more? In your role, you literally have to be a jack of all trades – and master of them all as well. With so many parties involved in a real estate transaction, you are the first in line and everyone from your client to all the other professionals that follow are relying on you to get the job done. No pressure or anything…

The biggest challenge you have to overcome is the unknown. It is the unknown that leads to snags on deals that result in closing day surprises that can make a deal extremely stressful for all involved.

So how can we see what we can’t see? Before ironing out the how, we should first iron out the what. What can you look at that will help you to mitigate problems on deals and shine in front of your client? Most of what you will want to look for exists within a property’s title.

  • Who owns the home? Have all of the legal homeowners signed onto your engagement? Is your client the legal homeowner? This information is critical.
  • Is there enough equity to cover the closing costs? Have you checked (despite what the client is telling you) how many actual mortgages are registered on title? Is it possible that there are any liens?
  • Have you validated the property’s legal description?
  • Are there any nefarious transactions on title – strange transfers or discharges?

You may be thinking that these are things that you leave to the real estate lawyer. Not so. Digging deeper is like digging for dollars. For every deal that turns up with an issue, you need to be able to resolve it. If it can’t be resolved, you can quickly move on to deals that will close. Knowing is step one in conquering sure challenges.

As you know, when a real estate lawyer closes a deal they perform a full title search. What you may not know is that the information associated to aspects of a title search are available to you too!

Real estate professionals often confuse the difference between a title search and a Parcel Register*. The confusion: many think that the Parcel Register* is actually a title search, which is why some think it is the lawyer’s responsibly to review the Parcel Register* and therefore beyond their means to access it themselves. Once again, this is not so.

In fact, a Parcel Register* is part of a title search – it is one search/document that provides you with a snapshot of important property-related information at the time it is requested. It provides information such as the property’s legal description, legal homeowners, types of ownership, percentage of ownership, property transfer history, registered mortgages, liens and more…

Is obtaining a Parcel Register* part of your professional, legal and ethical obligation as a real estate sales professional? Short answer: accessing the information contained in one arguably is. While it may not be listed as a requisite, it probably should be!

Not only does digging deeper mean more dollars for you – it means more dollars for the real estate lawyer, mortgage broker, and mortgage lenders that follow you. It means going above and beyond the call of duty, forging stronger relationships and becoming known for the stellar job that you do.

We challenge you: go the extra mile for your client, dig deeper, work on the deals that can and will close and realize the true financial potential that awaits you.

*An official product of the Ontario government pursuant to provincial land registration statutes.


September 26, 2016

real-estate-sales-professional-smDifferent types of properties mean a different closing process and the difference between representing a buyer and a seller means different responsibilities when representing the client. Representing the seller is especially onerous because everything originates with you. The pressure is on…

In most deals, everything rides on the accuracy of the seller’s information, especially with regard to closing costs, meaning your commission, the other side’s real estate sales professional and sometimes even the mortgage broker’s commission will come out of the closing costs of the transaction.

When you represent the seller, you not only represent your client but you will also have to work and exchange information with the real estate sales professional representing the buyer, the mortgage agent or broker and the real estate lawyer – each of these professionals is going to look to you for accurate information.

Responsibilities to seller – your client

Don’t expect your client to accurately know their information. People live in their homes over extended periods of time so they may have forgotten or not even be aware of material facts that could impact the clean sale of their home. It is always a smart idea, at the point where you are engaged by your client, to perform preliminary research, including:

  • Verifying the legal description and property details, including the legal homeowners
  • Reviewing the property’s sales history
  • Reviewing the registered mortgages on title against your estimate list value

Optional extra steps that we recommend taking when representing a seller:

  • Obtain a Parcel Register* which will contain (as of the date it is obtained) the legal description of the property, homeownership information, registered mortgages, liens and more. This is an excellent snapshot of aspects of the property’s title that other parties to the transaction, including your client, will be interested in looking at.
  • A HomeVerified Report reveals information about the claims history on a particular property. A clean property report is an excellent selling feature that your seller can present to a prospective buyer.

Taking the steps to validate/review the above information enables you to do the best possible job for your client and shows them that you are more than committed to protecting them in the sale of their home.

Representing the seller – you are the first in the process and the buck stops at you.

Who is relying on you? The buyer’s real estate sales representative and the real estate lawyer are going to require information from you to ensure a smooth closing. The level of quality that you deliver providing complete disclosure and knowing everything there is about the property that is being sold helps increase the likelihood of all parties seeing the deal close.

At GeoWarehouse, we have the tools that make your responsibilities easy. Don’t take chances, get the information you need today.

Find out more by visiting www.geowarehouse.ca.

*An official product of the Ontario government pursuant to provincial land registration statutes.


September 20, 2016

protect-your-deal-smYou’re working on a deal with a 60-day closing. You work your way through the entire process, negotiating all required documents and aligning all required professionals. Closing day is approaching, but then boom, you hit a snag. The only way to predict your revenue is to know that all the deals that you are working are solid.

While some situations are completely out of your control, like a sale being conditioned on the buyer selling their home, or a buyer coming down with a serious case of buyer’s remorse, many of the reasons that deals fail are well within your control. Here are some of the challenges and how you can overcome them.

Buyer Financing Challenges

Buyer financing challenges can occur for a variety of reasons. Sometimes a mortgage pre-approval is issued and then the client’s information changes or they have difficulty providing the information requested by the bank. Other times, the client incorrectly estimates their equity, leading to a smaller down payment than originally anticipated and even difficulty covering closing costs. The best way to overcome buyer financing challenges is to work closely with your broker partners to better understand what they will be looking for to close the mortgage and work with your client to meet these requirements as early in the closing process as possible. Want to strengthen relationships with your broker partners and create more alignment? Ask them what they need. What is required on every deal? Proof of down payment? Proof of income? The list goes on… Why not ask your client for this documentation at the mortgage pre-approval stage? Another step that you can take if the buyer is also selling their home or the proceeds for their down payment are coming from the sale of another property is to search the property in GeoWarehouse. You can validate the value of registered encumbrances to estimate the equity they will have available.

Disagreement Over Property Value

Gone are the days of a formal appraisal being required on all deals and hello are the days of Automated Valuation Models (AVM). Ever wonder why the bank often doesn’t order an appraisal? Over the past 2 decades, banks have come to rely on AVMs, which are essentially automated property valuations that generate a property value estimate. The buyer and seller can agree to whatever value they want, but if the bank runs an AVM that disagrees with the value then the deal will come to a grinding halt. The best way to overcome this challenge is to run your own automated valuation of the subject property in GeoWarehouse. Especially in hot urban markets like Vancouver and Toronto, it is not uncommon for bidding wars to push a property’s value far above what may be considered market value at the time of the offer and acceptance. Anticipating discrepancies in value enables you to prepare your client to have more down payment or plan in the event the bank doesn’t want to offer full financing.

Property Title Issues

Property title issues such as other people on title, the presence of liens, strange transfers or discharges, undischarged mortgages and many other title-related issues can emerge and quickly delay, and even prevent deals from closing. Don’t wait for the real estate lawyer to uncover these types of challenges – at this point you will be so far into the process that you will have incurred significant time and expenses, as will the other professionals involved in the transaction. Want to ensure that there are no title issues existing on your deal? Check the Parcel Register* first. This will reveal who the legal homeowners are, the type and percentages of ownership, registered mortgages, liens and more. You can quickly access a property’s Parcel Register* through the GeoWarehouse Store in GeoWarehouse.

Predicting revenue means anticipating/estimating what new business you want to bring in, and, just as importantly, that the business you have on the go is good business. Going above and beyond the call of duty for both your client and professional partners, from day one, makes it clear to all that you are a professional who maintains a strong commitment to getting the deal done!

Have you heard about the New GeoWarehouse? It’s coming soon and if you want to learn more visit www.earlyrelease.geowarehouse.ca.

*An official product of the Ontario government pursuant to provincial land registration statutes.


September 7, 2016

Parcel Register smThanks largely to technology, today’s buyer is far more informed. Many buyers have experience with real estate, both buying and selling, and they want – and – expect, full disclosure. Some buyers may even go as far as to ask for perfect title right on the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. Buyers expect more and real estate sales professionals who want to remain competitive have to provide it!

One of the most insightful documents that you can obtain to get a really accurate snapshot of a property’s title is a Parcel Register*. The Parcel Register* is an electronic document that contains a host of valuable information, including:

  • The property’s PIN (Property Identification Number)
  • A legal description of the property
  • Who the legal homeowners are, the type of ownership and percentage
  • Easements
  • A history of property transfers, transferees/transferors, dates and amounts
  • Registered mortgages against the property – lender, registration date, amount and value
  • Registered liens – registration date, amounts and the individual or company who registered it
  • And much, much more…

Each item listed on the Parcel Register* includes a registration number. This can be used to pull Instrument Images of the actual document that was filed as it relates to the registration. An Instrument Image related to a lien, for example, will reveal further details such as contact information for the lawyer who registered the lien, in the event a discharge needs to be obtained.

A Parcel Register* is an invaluable document to obtain and even provide to your client on every deal.

Another very valuable report that buyers may find interesting is the HomeVerified Report. This is an insurance report that reveals information about a property or area based on insurance claims. For instance, if a property has had flood claims, it could be a sign that there are other problems with the property, or if the surrounding area is well known for a particular type of claim, this may also be considered a red flag. On the flipside, a clean HomeVerified Report gives your client added comfort that they are buying a good property, free of any issues.

If your client is buying a condo, a condo certificate is the best disclosure document that you can obtain to shed light on condo related matters, including the condo corporation’s financial standing, the condo’s financial standing and even restrictions related to the condo.

In this day and age, full disclosure is the name of the game and thanks to tools and resources, providing it is easier than ever.

Don’t get stuck without the information your clients want. Get it today by visiting www.geowarehouse.ca.

*An official product of the Ontario government pursuant to provincial land registration statutes.

June 27, 2016

geo2Real estate fraud is real and impacts thousands each year- this, unfortunately, is well known. Organizations from the police to regulatory bodies have made great strides in raising awareness about fraud prevention, and we too have always made this a mandate.

Uncovering and investigating potential real estate fraud on a deal can be like peeling away the layers of an onion. With each layer of due diligence you complete, you learn more which will help you make more informed decisions. We see this stage in 3 processes with 3 distinct actions that can mitigate the chances that a fraud can sneak by you.

Perform top level research. A property details report will tell you the property’s sales history, who owns the home and registered mortgages. This is usually enough to set-off alarm bells. Does something seem up? Proceed to step 2, validating information.

Validate up to the date in question: the homeowners and types and percentages of ownership. Too many transfers and transfers between related parties, even companies, may be problematic. Look at transfer dates and amounts but also what mortgages were registered. Check the property for liens. The best way to do this is through a Parcel Register* which derives data from the Province of Ontario Land Registry Information System – the most current and accurate source of housing data in Ontario. Something come up on your Parcel Register*? Proceed to step 3, checking registered documents.

Check registered documents. Something has come up on title and you want more information, such as who the registering party was. You can do this by obtaining an Instrument Image. An Instrument Image is an image of the document used to register the item and can be obtained by having the registration number of the item registered on the Parcel Register*.

At this point you:

  • Should be in a position to determine whether your suspicion is grounded. If fraud is present you should pass on the deal (and therefore take the necessary steps required to alert the appropriate institutions).
  • You are armed with more information and your client is able to explain the occurrence and provide you with satisfactory explanation to move forward.
  • You know more about the property you are selling because, if you uncovered this information, likely the buyer’s agent will too and it is your responsibility to disclose material facts to a transaction.

The great thing about doing your due diligence is that, when it turns out that your client is clear and there is no fraud present, your client can see that you are serious about what you do and protecting your clients and the public at large.

Get as much information as possible, as soon as possible. GeoWarehouse has the tools that make due diligence and preventing real estate fraud easy.

Find out more by visiting www.geowarehouse.ca.

*An official product of the Ontario government pursuant to provincial land registration statutes.




Who Registered the Property Lien?

Author: GeoWarehouse
June 13, 2016

geo1You worked hard to land your deal and know you are excited to get the property sold. Now it’s due diligence time. You not only need to research the property, you also you need to look into your client. There is no better time to do so than at the very beginning!

You turn to your tools and begin looking at the property, sales history, sales comps and other initial checks and balances. Check. Check. Check. Things are looking good.

Now it’s time to vet the financial positioning on the property. The financial information on the property details report revealed that the client has 3 mortgages registered! Could these be a sign that the client has an underlying financial problem?

You decide to run a Parcel Register* and search and the worst outcome happens – there are 2 liens registered against the property. One lien indicates a company name and the other an individual’s name. You ask your client and they have no idea what you’re talking about. It is time to dig deeper. At this point, a consent for third parties to disclose information to you makes sense because further investigation will be needed and you don’t want to be blocked by third party privacy concerns.

Suddenly, you feel that you have been launched into a game of Deal or No Deal. Depending on what is potentially owed on the liens, there could be no equity left to pay you. What started out as promising has now become potentially problematic.

You have to find out who registered the lien and the amount required to get it discharged. The only way to find out who registered the lien is to get the details about the individual who registered it – this would be your starting point.

At this point, you have to go back to your tools. In the GeoWarehouse Store you can use the registration number of the lien to request an instrument image. This document will reveal the party who registered the lien, which is usually the lawyer who represents the person who is owed, as well as their contact information.

Now you can write to the other side to request what would be required to discharge the lien. Do not count on the amount registered on title, as the balance could be greater. If your client has not been making payments or the lien registrant has not been successful in collecting then expect new interest, potential penalties, legal fees and discharge fees to get the lien removed.

A registered lien can cause big problems throughout the process, and too much money owing elsewhere can lead to a client’s inability to pay you – which is always to be avoided. GeoWarehouse can help you identify issues at the very beginning.

Find out more by visiting www.geowarehouse.ca.

*An official product of the Ontario government pursuant to provincial land registration statutes.


geo1When a real estate lawyer performs a property title search, one of the most critical documents they rely upon is the Parcel Register*. The Parcel Register* is a document that provides significant details about a property and its financial history. Real estate lawyers are not the only professionals who have access to Parcel Registers* – you do to.

While you likely would not perform a complete title search on a deal (that is the real estate lawyer’s role), requesting a Parcel Register* will give you great insight and enable you to identify potential problems with respect to your deal – problems that could surface later.

While there is so much information in a Parcel Register* that is useful, today we wanted to provide you with a 5 Point Parcel Register* check with some of the most important:

1. Legal Description of the Property – Verify the legal description of the property.

2. Property Ownership and Type of Ownership – Validate who is on title to the property as owners, as well as types and percentages of ownership. Sometimes other people can show up on title, even in a very small percentage of ownership, but if this happens it can present a real issue. Sometimes your client may honestly have forgotten that a parent or guarantor is on title.

3. Registered Mortgages – Review all registered mortgages, dates registered, amounts and who issued the mortgages. This can reveal if the property is encumbered which is an issue when it comes to paying closing costs from the proceeds of a sale. Discovering this at the point when a client is engaged enables you to make financial arrangements with your client.

4. Transfer History – Review the property’s transfer history to see the number of transfers, from/to information and transfer amounts. Too many transfers in a short period of time and many non-arms-length transfers could be a sign that, at the most, real estate fraud is present and, at the least, something is off and digging deeper makes sense.

5. Undischarged Encumbrances and Liens – Review the property for liens and if it seems that there are more mortgages on title than what the client told you, it could be that they are simply undischarged mortgages (not owing, but still registered). Undischarged mortgages can be a real pain because they will have to be discharged before your deal can close.

As you can see, a Parcel Register* is your frontline resource for discovery. Don’t get stuck not knowing – this could cost you time and money.

Hopefully you have found this blog helpful and please note that you can obtain a Parcel Register* right in the GeoWarehouse Store.

Not a GeoWarehouse customer? Find out why you should be! Visit www.geowarehouse.ca.

*An official product of the Ontario government pursuant to provincial land registration statutes.



April 25, 2016

Fact: The Parcel Register is the fastest, most accurate and current way to determine if there is enough equity to pay you! Find out more at www.geowarehouse.ca.



geo1This week we are getting back to basics! Why? Well, when it comes to this topic, it is one that real estate professionals get confused with all the time. Property title search or Parcel Register*: many think they are one and the same when in fact they are quite different.

The Parcel Register* is an electronic document that contains the transfer and financial history of a property -along with a host of other important information. Often when real estate sales professionals refer to getting a title search, they actually mean Parcel Register*. However, a Parcel Register* is actually just a part of a property title search.

Real estate lawyers commonly perform a full property title search as part of a real estate closing with the Parcel Register* being one element of the full search. Title insurance however has eased this burden and often real estate lawyers won’t perform a complete title search as many things are protected by title insurance. That being said, they will always obtain a current Parcel Register*.

The Parcel Register* is actually one of the most helpful documents in the real estate process because it contains the most current information available and includes a lot of useful information. Some examples include:

  • A legal description of the property and property identification number
  • The legal homeowners of the property
  • The type and percentage of ownership
  • A history of property transfers and transfer amounts
  • A history of registered mortgages and registration amounts
  • Any property liens and more

This is a great way to validate that your client is the legal homeowner. You can also validate that there is enough equity to pay for your services and that there are no financial issues present that you aren’t aware of – not to mention those instances which sometimes arise where something shows up on title that the client is unaware of. This is why many real estate sales professionals will obtain a Parcel Register* when engaging a new client.

You can help your client dig deeper – this is a great practice in due diligence.

Anything registered on a Parcel Register* contains a registration number. You can then use the registration number of any transfer or charge and request the according instrument image. This will enable you to see the document that was registered and the name and contact information of the representative of the party who registered. You can use this to help your client resolve issues that could cause a problem on closing before it gets that far.

So, when you want to verify something simple, know that you don’t need a full property title search to do it. A Parcel Register* can often give you the pertinent information required without doing a full property title search.

GeoWarehouse gives you easy access to the Parcel Register*. To find out more visit www.geowarehouse.ca.

*An official product of the Ontario government pursuant to provincial land registration statutes.




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