Notary Kristy Martin with Farley Martin Notaries Public says there’s more to real estate documentation than meets the eye.

Avoiding common mistakes can save you money

Notaries can help you with what to do and what to avoid

For most British Columbians, their home is their biggest asset, so buying or selling can be one of the most important decisions they make.

Some of the most common mistakes or misunderstandings that can cloud the issue for buyers and sellers alike include not knowing if they qualify for a property transfer tax exemption, confusion about the key completion/closing dates and adjustment/possession dates, as well as misunderstanding the property tax year and payment cycle.

Many buyers are also unfamiliar with the costs and fees associated with completing their purchase or sale, and sellers are often unaware that GST is payable on top of real estate commissions.

Some people don’t understand that the mortgage lender processes applications, but notaries or lawyers prepare the mortgage documents.

In addition, not everyone realizes notaries can complete real estate documentation. “Enlisting the services of a notary provides peace of mind when you’re sorting through the dos and don’ts of one of the most important decisions you make in your life,” said Kristy Martin, a notary with Farley Martin Notaries in Langford.

Lending institutions can take care of loan approvals and related conditions such as interest rates and terms, but a legal professional like a notary has the experience and expertise required to prepare mortgage documents, Martin explained.

Notaries can draw up a statement of adjustments to add to the balance of the down payment, Martin explained.

“We also ensure these disbursements are paid once the client receives down payment form the buyer,” she added.

“Notaries can also provide the buyer with a total adjustment amount once they have signed the paperwork a few days before the closing date.”

Notaries also ensure mortgage documents, title searches, property transfer and confirmation documentation are completed as required.

“With purchases involving stratas, it’s important to make sure there are no special assessments, fines, penalties or outstanding fees.

Completing all of the forms and documents required for purchases or sales of strata properties is key,” Martin said. “Notaries will also review strata council minutes upon request before you make your commitment. We deal with a wide range of questions on stratas regularly.”

The Society of Notaries Public of BC represents more than 355 highly-trained notary professionals. The majority have locally owned and operated offices and all provide personal assistance to clients around the province.

Individuals, families and businesses utilize the service of notaries for a wide range of non-contentious legal matters, wills, advanced health care planning, powers of attorney and other important documents.

Visit for more information on how notaries can help you.

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