UNDERSTANDING TITLE INSURANCE
Title insurance is a type of insurance that can protect a residential or commercial buyer or lender from certain losses relating to on-title and off-title defects related to a real estate transaction. Title insurance will generally provide coverage for unknown title defects, fraud, and unmarketability of the title. While title insurance is not required in Ontario, we always recommend that a title insurance policy be purchased by the lender and the buyer to protect their interest in the real property. If you are unsure about purchasing title insurance, it is important to consult an experienced real estate lawyer who can go over the details of your specific transaction and advise on the benefits and protections it may offer.
FRAUDULENT REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS
In recent years, there has been an increasing trend of real estate fraud in Ontario. Real estate fraud can occur in many forms including title, mortgage, and foreclosure fraud. Each type of real estate fraud has its own indicators and red flags that can alert you to the fact that you may be getting scammed. Below you will find common red flags the Law Society of Ontario has identified that can help you identify fraudulent real estate transactions:
- The buyer may ask for a credit to be paid to them on closing without disclosing the credit to the bank;
- The buyer proposes a rushed closing date and may put pressure to close before a long weekend or bank holiday;
- The buyer may offer a heavily inflated purchase price for the property;
- The buyer plans to immediately flip the house for an increased profit;
- The client is only available over the phone and cannot meet in person;
- The seller requests the deposit be paid directly to them instead of to the lawyer’s trust account or to a real estate agent;
- The title has a history of mortgages being registered and discharged soon after; and
- The client is willing to pay higher than normal legal fees for the transaction.
These are just some of the red flags that may indicate the presence of real estate fraud. Title insurance companies and the Law Society of Ontario work tirelessly to spread awareness of fraudulent methods in real estate and warn the public of the signs to look for to avoid being frauded. For more information on red flags of real estate transactions, see the Law Society of Ontario’s website. If you are planning on buying or selling a home, it is important to consult with an experienced real estate lawyer to minimize the risk of becoming a victim of real estate fraud.
Contact us today if you require legal assistance with a real estate transaction. Our real estate law team has the experience and knowledge to assist you throughout every step of the transaction.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is not to be construed as legal advice. The content is drafted and published only for the purpose of providing the public with general information regarding various real estate and business law topics. For legal advice, please contact us.
About the Author:
Shahriar Jahanshahi is the founder and principal lawyer at Jahanshahi Law Firm with a practice focus on representing business star-ups and investors in the province of Ontario. For further information about Shahriar Jahanshahi, click here.