Saturday, September 3, 2011

Emotions can hinder sale of matrimonial home after a marriage breakdown

There are many  different situations in real estate sales, but one that can be particularly tricky is the sale of a matrimonial home following a marriage breakdown. Selling a matrimonial home after the break down of the relationship is full of emotion – lots of anger and mistrust.

“I have had dealt with these situations”, says Jagdeep Singh, a Toronto real estate broker. “In one of these transaction where I was representing  a buyer for the sale of a home in Toronto’s north, Richmond Hill, the once couple didn’t want to be in the same room at the time of the negotiation, though they were in the same house. The wife would sign the offer and leave the paperwork for the husband in the ‘common area’ to pick up and sign before faxing it back to me”. One can imagine how hard this can be when the buyer’s waiting and it takes a long time to get a sign back from the seller. The husband sometimes wants to sell the house and get on with his new life, while the wife doesn’t want to sell. These situations can be difficult and frustrating for everyone involved.

A matrimonial home is considered a unique asset vital to a family’s well-being, so it is treated differently from other types of property and falls under the Family Law Act (FLA).

The act recognizes spousal equality within a marriage and provides for the orderly and equitable settlement of spousal affairs after a marital breakdown, as well as for other mutual obligations within family relationships. The FLA stipulates that, when a marriage ends, the full value of the matrimonial home must be shared, even if one spouse owned the same home before marriage, received it as a gift, or inherited it – unless a valid marriage contract states otherwise. Note, however, that a marriage contract cannot limit or block other matrimonial home rights covered under Part II of the act, such as equal possession and consent to sell or encumber.

Selling a matrimonial home when a couple splits up is probably the most difficult real estate transaction there is. You must practice extreme due diligence, paying careful attention to every detail and going through every clause and all the fine print with your clients to ensure that they understand. And you may have to do it all twice as in the case noted above, if the REALTOR can’t get the sellers into the same room together.

When dealing with transactions involving a matrimonial home, expert legal advice for any questions about rights, obligations and requirements under the FLA, and for any issues or disputes regarding spousal consents or the definition or designation of a matrimonial home should be sought from a lawyer along the process.

When listing and selling a property, all registered owners must sign the listing agreement, the agreement of purchase and sale (APS) and all related documents. Most residential properties are owned by both spouses jointly. If both spouses are on title as owners of the property (any property -- whether it be a matrimonial home or another property), both spouses are shown as owners and sellers throughout the transaction. Both spouses should sign the listing agreement, the APS and other related documents. Problems will arise if any owners’ signatures are missing from these documents.

If only one spouse is on title as the registered owner of a matrimonial home, the owner-spouse is shown as the seller throughout the transaction. However, the non-owner spouse will need to consent to the listing and transaction and sign the listing agreement, any amendments to the listing, the APS and other transaction documents such as the deed/transfer in order to confirm that consent. Both spouses would also initial any changes made during the offer and counter-offer negotiating process.

If there is any doubt that the property is a matrimonial home, requiring spousal consent to a sale, assume that consent and reduce it in writing unless there is appropriate documentation under the FLA or a court order stating otherwise.

REALTORS® involved in the sale of a matrimonial home after a marriage breaks down should be patient and try to understand the position of each party and what they want out of the process. The role of the REALTOR® is also to be a facilitator who tries to keep the lines of communication open, but don’t end up giving legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought whenever there is doubt and both parties should obtain it from their respective lawyers.

As per Jagdeep, “The upside to this is that if a REALTOR® does a proper job, he or she can end up with two great clients for life”

“Spouses” under the act, including Part II - Matrimonial Home, are persons who are married to each other. (In Ontario, this includes same-sex couples who have married in a legal ceremony.) However, if two people are registered on title as property owners, even if they don’t fall under the definition of spouse, they are both still owners of the property with all the rights of owners, and therefore must be included in listing agreements, the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, and other documents. People in common-law relationships may be entitled support payments or repayments for contributions to the property based on trust law principles. Expert legal advice is needed to deal with these types of issues.

The Family Law Act can be found on the Ontario e-Laws website at www.e-laws.gov.on.ca. Click on the black box titled “Search or Browse Current Consolidated Law” and type “matrimonial home” in the search box.

Jagdeep Singh, B. Arch.

Real Estate Broker

Powerful Local Focus on Real Estate with a Global Perspective.

Direct Tel: 647-287-4644

Direct Fax: 866-450-9199

www.JagdeepSingh.ca

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Not intended to solicit parties currently under contract.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Canada's Newest Anti-Spam Legislation

Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL), Bill C-28 is coming soon, but that doesn’t mean that small business, individual business people and organizations should wait to make sure they are prepared for the new legislations. The fines are hefty.  This bill applies to any “commercial activity” which means any particular transaction, act or conduct or any regular course of conduct that is of a commercial character, whether or not the person who carries it out does so in the expectation of profit.

This act is in addition to the PIPEDA. In the event of a conflict between a provision of this Act and a provision of Part 1 of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, the provision of this Act operates despite the provision of that Part, to the extent of the conflict.

Now you may say that you have a previous and hence an existing business relationship with your client or customer. The bill defines existing business relationship” to mean a business relationship between the person to whom the message is sent as any person who sent or caused or permitted to be sent the message arising from the purchase or lease of a product, goods, a service, land or an interest or right in land, within the two-year period immediately before the day on which the message was sent, by the person to whom the message is sent from any of those other persons. If it is beyond the 2 year period, you could be considered as a spammer. Get the permission, plus the permission has to be expressed and not implied, which means the sender cannot hide behind the excuse that “if they didn’t opt-out, then they automatically opted in”.

Any violation to this proposed act may be punishable. The maximum penalty for a violation is $1,000,000 (yes, a Million Dollars) in the case of an individual, and $10,000,000 in the case of any other person.

For more information on this act, click here. Happy complying.

Jagdeep Singh, B. Arch.

Real Estate Broker

647-28-SINGH

Powerful Local Focus on Real Estate with a Global Perspective.

Direct Tel: 647-287-4644

Direct Fax: 866-450-9199

www.JagdeepSingh.ca

Connect Via:   

     
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Century 21 New Star Realty Inc., Brokerage

Independently owned and operated

1450 Midland Avenue, Suite 206

Toronto ON  M1P 4Z8

Off Tel: 416-288-0800

Off Fax: 416-288-8038

This post is intended only for readers who accept to read it, and may contain information that is privileged, confidential and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If the reader of this content is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. This post is not intended to solicit parties currently under contract. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender immediately by email and delete the message.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Buying real estate a better deal than renting in 74% of major US cities

Buying real estate continues to be cheaper than renting in the vast majority of major U.S. cities, according to a quarterly rent vs. buy index from real estate search and marketing site Trulia. The index compared the median list price and the median annualized rent on a two-bedroom apartment, condominium or townhouse in the country's 50 most populous cities. According to the index, the cost of buying was less than renting in 37 of the 50 cities (74 percent) as of July 1, 2011. About the same share, 78 percent, favored buying over renting in Trulia's last index report, released in April. Trulia defines total costs of homeownership to include "mortgage principal and interest, property taxes, hazard insurance, closing costs at time of purchase and ongoing (homeowners association) dues and private mortgage insurance, where applicable. It also includes an offset for the tax advantages of homeownership, including mortgage interest, property tax and closing cost deductions."

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Your Home - Flooding & Sewer Backups

Sewer back up is not something you want to encounter. However if you do, this post will put you in the know, so that you can do what can best help you in a ‘slimy’ situation.

Two Sewer Systems, Shared Ownership

Two sewer systems serve most communities; the storm and sanitary sewer systems. The storm sewer system collects and conveys runoff and snow melt through the storm sewer pipe system and discharges this into natural watercourses. The sanitary sewer system collets and moves domestic/industrial wastewater to public treatment facilities and eventually discharges it into the water.

Municipalities own, operate and maintain both sewer systems up to the property boundary. Homeowners own, and are responsible for, the maintenance of the sewer lines within their properties. Who has responsibility is determined by where the services connect.

Why Does Flooding Occur?

Occasionally, intense rain or rapid snow melt may overwhelm the storm sewer lines and cause surface flooding. Water may backup into the pipes that connect each home to the system, and possibly into basements. You may also experience a sewer backup from blockages or breaks in the sanitary sewer system. Blockages occur because of excess grease and food poured down the kitchen sink. This material accumulates in pipes and restricts the flow causing a backup. Breaks in the underground pipes of either system may be due to faulty installation, pipe age, digging, or invading tree roots.

What Should You Do?

A backed up sewer line is never welcome. If flooding occurs there are specific steps you need to take action as soon as possible.

Contact your municipality to investigate, at usually no charge to the owner. It is always a good idea to determine that you will not be charged, just ask.

Take precautions not to touch water that may be contaminated by sewage. Health and safety is your prime concern.

Carefully clean and disinfect all affected items and surfaces.

Report the flooding to your insurance company right away. All claims, including those involving your municipality will usually be processed through your insurance carrier. It is your responsibility to understand what your insurance policy does and does not cover.

Report to your town or city in writing. The Clerk’s Office understands the insurance reporting process and apply the sewer blockage guidelines and backup policy.

Sewer Laterals, Areas Of Responsibility

Any damage, with the exception of grease and debris build-up, to the city-owned portion of the lines will be repaired by city as quickly as possible. It is up to the homeowner to hire a contractor to repair pipes within the property boundaries the home. Most municipalities usually have available a list of designated third –party service contractors who can clear and video your sewer connection at a fixed cost. Residents are free to choose a contractor of their choice. However, your municipal body reserves the right to accept the blockage location only from a authorized contractor.

If damage to a home occurs as the result of a sewer blockage in the public part of the system, the municipal office may offer to work with the homeowner’s insurance company to determine responsibility and compensation for the homeowner’ expenses.

Depending on the severity of a backup and the related damage, you may be required to disclose when selling your property.  For a confidential consultation, you may reach me via jagdeepsingh@trebnet.com

Your connection to GTA real estate.

Jagdeep Singh, B. Arch.

Real Estate Broker

647-28-SINGH

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

History of Interest Rates

Bank of Canada was founded in 1935. Since then:

March 1935 to November 1956

The original key interest rate was the Bank Rate. This is the minimum rate of interest that the Bank of Canada charges on one-day loans to financial institutions. Between March 1935 and November 1956, the Bank Rate was fixed, set directly by the Bank.

November 1956 to June 1962

The Bank Rate became a floating rate, set at 25 basis points above the average yield on 3-month treasury bills at the federal government's weekly auction.

June 1962 to March 1980

The Bank Rate was again fixed, set directly by the Bank.

March 1980 to February 1996

The Bank Rate was returned to a floating rate, set at 25 basis points above the average yield on 3-month treasury bills at the federal government's weekly auction.

22 February 1996 to present

Since 1996 the Bank Rate has been set by the Bank at the top of its operating band for the overnight rate (see next column.) This provides a clearer indicator of monetary policy intentions, because the Bank's influence on the overnight rate is more direct than on 3-month treasury bill rates.

In December 2000, the Bank began setting the level of the Bank Rate—and with it, the target for the overnight rate—on eight fixed dates per year. For 2011, these dates are

18 January

1 March

12 April

31 May

19 July

7 September

25 October

6 December

For more information on latest mortgage rates visit www.mortgageinnovation.ca

Read Greater Toronto Area Real Estate Report: Just released at http://conta.cc/lEl1gr

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Recognition That It Is

It is said that people who volunteer can't help but feel positive about life. Volunteering imbibes in others the spirit of generosity - of giving back to others; even strangers, all the good things we have received in life. It's paying it forward as volunteers would often tell people who ask why is volunteering important to them? Volunteering is a positive chain that goes around making the world a happier place for everyone. And the best part is that it is easy to volunteer. One can simply check out in one’s own community and see where help is required.

I felt special with one such opportunity that came my way, to work with the children and help out under the York Region District School Board. It is absolutely incredible how many wonderful people one gets to meet as part of this, right from a teacher who gives piano lessons part time and also volunteers right where she works, to an older gentlemen who used to be a principal at a school for 2000 children in Saigon, Vietnam during the Vietnam war. The experiences of all these great people come together to enrich me in ways that I don’t have the words to describe.

I thank the community for providing such a wonderful opportunity for me to volunteer and their recognition.

Jagdeep Singh, B. Arch.

Real Estate Broker

647-28-SINGH

An ounce of performance is worth more than pounds of promises.

Direct Tel: 647-287-4644

Direct Fax: 866-450-9199

www.JagdeepSingh.ca

Connect Via:   

     
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Century 21 New Star Realty Inc., Brokerage

Independently owned and operated

1450 Midland Avenue, Suite 206

Toronto ON  M1P 4Z8

Off Tel: 416-288-0800

Off Fax: 416-288-8038

This message is intended only for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed, and may contain information that is privileged, confidential and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. This message is not intended to solicit parties currently under contract. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender immediately by email and delete the message.