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Should I get title insurance in place of a real property report?

If possible, it is still best to have a current Real Property Report with compliance when buying or selling a home to ensure all property buildings are within the municipality guidelines. If an RPR is not an option, title insurance is a good substitute.


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Title insurance without a Real Property Report and compliance is acceptable to most major mortgage lenders and will often provide coverage for the lender for known defects. Unlike other insurance products, there is only one premium paid at the time of closing which provides coverage to the owner throughout their ownership of the property. It also offers a wide range of protection for issues that are not covered by an RPR and compliance.


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Title Insurance Benefits include

  • Intervening registrations – Anything registered on title between the time the lawyer submits to the Land Titles Office and the time of actual registration.
  • Unknown Liens, encumbrances, tax arrears or defects in the title to a property.
  • Unknown special assessments on condos that were implemented prior to closing.
  • If an RPR or compliance is not obtained, it covers any defects that would have been revealed by an accurate up-to-date RPR and compliance.
  • The forced removal of an existing structure with the exception of a boundary wall or fence where there is only limited coverage
  • Forced compliance with work orders or deficiencies on an existing building permit.
  • Loss of priority due to matters such as construction liens, agreements on a title, and other mortgages.
  • Another party claims an interest in the property.
  • Protection against title defects or encumbrances that were unknown or undiscovered at the time of closing.
  • Protection against identity theft, mortgage fraud, and fraud against the title.
  • Cost savings. Typically, the cost for title insurance is far less than the cost of an RPR and compliance and is available on short notice

Drawbacks of Title Insurance

  • It is an insurance product. This means when an issue arises, it may not be covered by the policy and if there is coverage the insurer can decide the method used to solve the issue which may not be the preferred choice of the insured party.
  • There is a lack of disclosure and certainty, especially for the buyer, at the time of closing. If an issue is discovered later, it is more difficult to pursue the seller for a fix after closing.
  • There is no coverage for known defects, except for some coverage for the lender only.
  • There must be some form of enforcement or government action to trigger coverage in most cases.  For example, the previous owner did renovations that do not meet the requirements of the building permit or development permit. The title insurance will only pay for the cost to fix these deficiencies if there is some form of enforcement and not simply due to the deficiencies.
  • It does not guarantee that all structures will remain in the current state;. For example, if the municipality mandates the alteration or destruction of a certain structure, the title insurance company may pay for the cost of appealing that decision however they cannot guarantee a favorable result.
  • The coverage of Title Insurance is for the buyer only (not the seller).
  • If a buyer or their lawyer purchases a lender only policy that is sufficient to close the deal however the buyer still has no title insurance protection. /li>
  • There is no specific protection or coverage for the seller. If a claim is made and the title insurance company determines it is the seller who created the deficiency, the title insurance company can pursue the seller for recovery of the costs they have paid.
  • In most instances, title insurance only defers the need to deal with a particular issue. It does not solve it. The issues will still be there when the property is resold.
  • Title insurance cannot be passed onto a new owner. Every new owner must purchase their own policy.


For more information on real property reports and the effects on the resale of your residential dwellings and a free Edmonton Home Evaluation, contact one of our Homes & Gardens Realtors.

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Why You Need a Property Title Search

When a real estate agent in Edmonton is working for either a buyer or a seller, a property title search needs to be pulled prior to listing a home or writing an offer to purchase to ensure the saleability of the property.


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Basic information on a property title will include:

  • The current owners name: In the event of an estate sale, probate may or may not have been completed and your real estate agent will ensure the person selling the property does have power of attorney. In the event, there is only one person on the title in a marriage, a dower consent will also be needed to complete the sale.
  • The Legal description: The municipal or mailing address is different from the legal description and includes a block, lot and Plan number.
  • The amount of the last mortgage, any second or third mortgages or the original purchase amount at the time of purchase or there may be a nominal fee.

Other things which can be revealed on a property title search may include:

  • Outstanding or owing property taxes, special assessments, delinquent condominium fees which have not been paid by the seller.
  • Outstanding creditors including other financial institutions and businesses for things like unpaid vehicle loans, furniture stores, construction loans, personal loans, etc
  • A lis pendens, which is normally added by a lawyer during a divorce procedures and "freezes" the transfer of a property until all parties are satisfied.
  • Easements and Liens from a third party, such as the municipality, utility company or Environmental liens, who may have rights to use part of your property.
  • Covenants which are restrictions on the land that can limit what can be built on it, where it can be built and from what materials it may be built. Breaching a covenant can have serious consequences so it is necessary to be aware of any covenants on your property.

If you are not represented by an Edmonton Real Estate Agent, with the legal description and a small fee, the public can pull the title of a property plus details on any registered documents attached to it. Also note, between the time a condition has been removed from an offer to purchase to the time a buying signs with their lawyer, there may be a change on the land title certificate.


Learn more about real estate contracts in Alberta

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What Happens if your Real Property Report does not Comply?

If you are selling a home and have been told that there is no compliance or you have a non-conforming property, don't panic if you have not yet accepted an offer to purchase. Your Edmonton real estate agent can walk you through on how to write or amend the purchase agreement to ensure you will not be penalized. However, if you have sold your home and are just finding out, you have no compliance or non-confirmation, talk to your lawyer.


Residential AREA real estate purchase agreements contain a clause which clearly outlines the factors of the real property report.


"the current use of the Land and Buildings complies with the existing municipal land use... buildings and other improvements on the Land are not placed partly or wholly on any easement ... do not encroach on neighboring lands ... directly on the real property report ...location of Buildings and other improvements on the Land complies with all relevant municipal bylaws, regulations or relaxations ... prior to the Completion Day, or the Buildings and other improvements on the Land are non-conforming buildings as that term is defined in the Municipal Government Act (Alberta) ...current use of the Land and Buildings and the location of the Buildings and other improvements on the Land comply with any restrictive covenant..."


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Drawbacks of Non-Compliance or Non-Confirmation:

Knowing in advance that there may be an issue with compliance or non-confirmation on your real property report will save time, money and stress, by dealing with the issues in advance. Depending on the nature of the deficiency


A request to the municipality for a certificate may lead to a requirement for substantial alterations, relocation or destruction of certain structures.


The buyer may choose not to go ahead with the purchase until deficiencies are resolved. Under the AREA contract, the warranties provided by the seller only relate to development issues and not building code issues; and while there is some debate among lawyers on this issue, most take the view that any building code deficiencies including the lack of building code permits are the responsibility of the buyer.


Knowing in advanced provides certainty for both buyer and seller at the time of closing regarding compliance with development issues and provides the opportunity for a buyer to have the seller remedy any deficiencies in this regard prior to or in conjunction with the closing.


It can be used to address the validity of permits which may or may not have been pulled to add, replace or alter a deck, garden shed, gazebo or greenhouse.


Any concerns or questions regarding issues with your real property report, please contact your real estate lawyer. Note* The town of Morinville no longer requires compliance.

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What is a Real Property Report?

A Real Property Report (also known as the RPR) is a legal document that clearly illustrates the location of significant visible improvements relative to property boundaries. It is a plan or illustration of the various physical features of the property, including a written statement detailing the surveyor’s opinions or concerns.


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Who needs a Real Property Report?

Part of the standard real estate contracts in Alberta will have a term in the document states the seller will provide a current real property report with the compliance report to the purchaser upon closing. Prior to putting your home on the MLS System and/or Realtor.ca, Sellers should order a new RPR to protect themselves from potential future legal liabilities resulting from problems related to property boundaries and improvements. YourREALTOR® can assist you with this process to ensure your property complies with municipal requirements.

Do I need a Real Property Report for a Condominium?

Bareland Condominiums require Real Property Reports. Conventional Condominiums do not require an RPR.

How does a Real Property Report protect you?

Purchasing a property may be the largest financial investment you ever make. With a Real Property Report, owners are aware of any boundary problems. They know whether their new home is too close to the property line, or part of their garage is on their neighbour’s land or vice versa. Since legal complications may occur if a sold property fails to meet requirements, a Real Property Report protects the seller.

What is on a Real Property Report?

The legal location description of the property and municipal address, dimensions and directions of all property boundaries, any improvements on the property, right-of-way or easements, any visible encroachments, a duly signed certification and opinion by an Alberta Land Surveyor and a permit Stamp where applicable.

How much does a Real Property Report cost?

The amount of work to prepare a Real Property Report varies between properties. Lot size and shape, number of buildings, natural features, age and availability of the property boundary information all affect the cost. However, if you are planning on selling your home in the near future, the sooner you order your Real Property Report, the more economical it will be plus any problems can be identified and resolved before a sale is finalized.


READ MORE ON THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN REAL PROPERTY REPORTS AND TITLE INSURANCE

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Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton.