MEET THE NOTARY PUBLIC
Get an independent third party.
Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with deeds of property ownership and hundreds of thousands of dollars, some people — a very small number, mind you — are tempted to do things that are less than honest.
But even the smallest chance of something untoward happening gives a reason for caution. To protect both parties, it’s recommended that an independent third party, such as a notary public, be hired. But what is a notary public?
Well, they’re governed by different regulations in every province and territory, but across the country notaries public are licensed and bonded to witness oaths and signatures.
They can also certify copies of documents to be accurate and true, an important function in a transaction with thick files of paperwork like this. In some places, like BC, they’re also able to draw up some types of legally binding contract (including mortgage papers).
In a typical real estate transaction, the notary public will act as a repository for paperwork from both sides. They will witness that all signatures are genuine, and that all necessary permits and licenses are in order.
The notary public should also do a search for liens on the property before ownership is transferred to the buyer. A good notary public will talk you through the paperwork of the process.
Note that a notary public does not collect their payment from the purchase price of the home, like realtors and mortgage brokers. Notaries public charge you directly, just as a lawyer would, so their fees exist above and beyond the cost of the home.
In future blog posts, we will talk about interest (the amount of your payment that goes to the mortgage), principal (the amount of your payment that goes toward the house) and more ten-dollar words, like compounding.