WHAT IS AN EASEMENT?
The process of buying a home can be intimidating and overwhelming. Homebuyers must face a multitude of major decisions, many of which are made more difficult by the use of complex legal terms. The term “easement” is common and is found in many Agreements of Purchase and Sale. This column will explain the meaning of this term.
An easement is defined as a right in property belonging to someone else which benefits land owned by the person who has the easement. Easements come in many forms. The following are some examples of some common easements. Firstly, there is the easement to re-enter. Prior to developing a subdivision, a developer must pave the streets, install hydro and gas lines, water mains and storm sewers, and construct curbs and sidewalks. Once these and other services have been set up for the individual lots in the subdivision, the lots are sold to a builder. Until the builder sells the lots and the municipality assumes responsibility for the subdivision, the developer has an ongoing obligation to maintain these services and make repairs when necessary. The developer must also finalize drainage and grading for the subdivision. Once the lot has been sold to the builder, however, the developer cannot legally enter onto the property without the consent of the owner. The solution to this problem is for the developer to reserve an easement to re-enter each lot until the municipality assumes responsibility for the subdivision. An easement in the form of a right of re-entry is common to new homes.
Another form of easement common to new homes is the maintenance easement. This type of easement is an outgrowth of the increasing price of land. With more housing taking the form of space-conscious semi-detached and row houses, it is becoming increasingly difficult for homeowners to have access to the exterior of their properties in order to clean the eaves, wash the windows, paint the dwelling and perform general maintenance. The solution to this problem is a maintenance easement.
In the case of a maintenance easement, an owner is granted access over part of the property adjoining their home and their neighbour’s home in order to repair and maintain his or her own home. For example, assume that Mark owns Parts 1 and 2 on a plan and that Jeff owns Parts 3 and 4. If part 2 is subject to a maintenance easement in favor of Jeff’s property, Jeff can enter part 2 to repair his own home without being considered a trespasser. Similarly, if part 3 is subject to a maintenance easement in favor of Mark’s property, Mark can enter part 3 without Jeff interfering. As such, the maintenance easement is a practical solution to allow homeowners to legally enter onto another property for a legitimate purpose.
Another easement common to many properties is a utility or telephone easement. For example, there can be a Bell Canada easement. Where such easements exist, Bell Canada typically has an easement over the rear four feet of a property. The purpose of this easement is to allow Bell to enter onto the lands to maintain and repair underground telephone lines. If anything is built on the lands over which the easement exists, Bell may require that the structure be relocated or removed to allow Bell representatives to gain access to repair the telephone lines.
The Agreement of Purchase and Sale will often require that you accept title to the property subject to minor easements for the supply of utility lines, telephone services and sanitary sewers. These easements should not materially affect the use of the property.
If you are buying a freehold property, your title or ownership may be subject to an easement. This can be verified by a search of the title to the property or by reviewing the survey, if available.
It is important to understand the meaning and importance of an easement. An experienced real estate lawyer can always help in this regard.
CLOSE YOUR HOME PURCHASE ON A WEDNESDAY
As the spring housing market heats up, it’s a busy time for closing deals. The price you pay is very important, but you also have to think carefully about your closing date, so that everything goes smoothly.
Here are seven things to remember:
Any day but Friday: The last Friday of a month is typically the busiest day in most real estate law offices, especially in the summer. This mean many deals won’t be able to close until late in the day. Worse, if the deal has to be extended, you don’t get keys until the following Monday, or maybe Tuesday if it is over a long weekend.
Wednesday is good: If there are delays, it is much easier to manage a one-day extension than an extension over a weekend.
When sellers must move: You should be out of your home by 3 p.m. on closing day. Most real estate contracts stipulate that sellers must turn over possession as soon as the deal is registered electronically. Usually — assuming it is not the last Friday of the month — that happens by 2 to 3 p.m. Vacant possession must be given to the buyer at that time.
Try to close early: If you are buying and selling in the same time period, close two days early and get bridge financing. You will close your deal without pressure and have a few days to move in while you wait until your sale closes. This will also make it much easier to negotiate an extension, if you have to, as you will not be dependent on the money from your sale to close your purchase.
Clean up after yourself: You must turn the house over in broom-swept condition, which means no garbage. Buyers should make a final visit two days before closing to make sure the seller is properly cleaning up.
When to move: Buyers should not plan to move in until late in the day or the day after closing, to avoid paying extra to movers if things get backed up or the deal has to be extended.
Do an inspection: Even if you are not moving in that day, buyers should check the condition of the home on the day of closing, to make sure that nothing has been broken or damaged. The seller typically guarantees everything will be working on the closing date, not afterwards, so find out right away if you need to make a claim about anything after closing.
By doing your homework before choosing a closing date, you should be able to avoid pitfalls later.
Retrieved from: www.thestar.com/business/personal_finance
GTA REALTORS® REPORT LATEST MID-MONTH RESALE HOUSING STATISTICS
TORONTO, April 17, 2014 — Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher announced that the spring market started off on a strong note in the Greater Toronto Area, with a 10.8 per cent year-over-year sales increase reported by Greater Toronto REALTORS® during the first two weeks of April. Sales through the TorontoMLS system over this period amounted to 4,541 units.
“The robust increase in sales speaks to the fact that home ownership remains affordable in the GTA. The majority of home buyers purchase a home using a mortgage. A household earning the average income in the GTA can comfortably afford a mortgage on an average priced home,” said Ms. Usher.
“While the persistent listings shortage in the GTA, coupled with strong demand, has led to a brisk pace of price growth, very low advertised mortgage rates have gone a long way to mitigating the effect of upward trending home prices,” continued Ms. Usher.
The average selling price for April mid-month sales was $583,697, representing an annual increase of 11 per cent. This increase was due to both tight market conditions and a change in the mix of homes sold. At month-end, the MLS® HPI benchmark price will provide more insight into price growth attributable solely to the change in market conditions.
“The overall average price increase was driven by single-detached, semi-detached and townhouse sales in the City of Toronto. There was a substantial increase in higher-end home sales this year compared to last,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
“This time last year, many would-be home buyers and sellers were still on the sidelines due to changes in federal mortgage lending guidelines, including those guideline changes that removed the government guarantee on mortgage insurance on home sales over one million dollars. However, many of these households have subsequently adjusted to the lending guideline changes and have recently purchased a home,” continued Mercer.
Retrieved from: http://www.torontorealestateboard.com