Frequently Asked Questions

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Real Estate

Am I eligible for a first-time Home Buyer's Tax Credit (HBTC)?

To be eligible for the Home Buyers’ Tax Credit, you must meet both of these criteria:

  1. You or your spouse or common-law partner purchased a qualifying home; and
  2. You are a first-time home buyer, which means that you did not live in another home owned by you or your spouse or common-law partner in the year of acquisition or in any of the four (4) preceding years.

Persons with disabilities are eligible for the HBTC, even if they are not first-time home buyers. Contact us for more information on your eligibility to claim a HBTC.

What is involved with Buying a House in Ontario?

When buying a house in Ontario, your real estate lawyer will play an important role in the process. It is prudent to have the Agreement of Purchase and Sale reviewed by your lawyer before signing or waving any conditions to ensure that your interests are protected.

After you have signed the Agreement, your lawyer will take over to complete the legal steps required close the transaction. Closing steps include:

  • Performing on title and off title searches
  • Preparing the mortgage documentation
  • Advising the applicable tax department of the purchase and change of ownership
  • Preparing closing documents and meeting with you to sign and explain the same
  • Registering the title transfer as well as any mortgages as appropriate
  • Preparing a final report for you upon closing
What steps are involved in Selling a House in Ontario?

Having a real estate lawyer review the Agreement of Purchase and Sale is just as important when selling a home as it is when you are buying. Having the Agreement reviewed by your real estate lawyer will help to ensure your interests are protected and that you will have no further liability issues once the sale of the house is closed.

The legal steps required to close on the sale of your home includes:

  • Arranging to discharge any mortgage(s) registered on title
  • Preparing title transfer documentation
  • Preparing a Statement of Adjustments for the buyer’s lawyer
  • Meeting with you explain and sign closing documents
  • Delivering the closing package to the other lawyer
  • Sending a final report to you upon closing
Why do I need to purchase Title Insurance?

Title Insurance has become a standard in Ontario when buying a property. If you are entering into a mortgage agreement with a financial institution, it is likely that they will require you obtain title insurance to protect them from risk of loss for the mortgage amount. This insurance is also greatly beneficial for buyers and protects them from title issues that could arise for the duration of their ownership of the property.

When buying a property, there are a number of title issues that could arise. Examples of such issues include fraud, liens, encumbrances, tax arrears, zoning issues, work orders, forgery and impersonation amongst others. Title insurance will protect you as the owner as well as the mortgage provider against any damage or loss suffered as a result of covered risks. If a title defect arises after closing, it can then be reported to the title insurance company who will then either correct the issue or compensate the policy holder.

What do I need to know before I sign an offer to purchase a house?

The offer to purchase a home is a contract referred to as an Agreement of Purchase and Sale. Once you have signed it and all the conditions have been fulfilled, you are contractually bound by the terms therein. We always recommend consulting a real estate lawyer before you sign the contract – especially if you are not familiar with this process.

Be sure to obtain as much information about the property in question before you sign any offers to purchase. Relevant information includes the following:

  • amount of the annual property taxes
  • information regarding any restrictions on the title to the property (to be confirmed by your real estate lawyer)
  • a home inspection report
  • confirm with your banker/mortgage advisor that you are eligible for the amount of mortgage financing required for this particular property
Can I make the offer to purchase conditional?

Yes, you may make your offer to purchase conditional on a number of different items. Common conditions include the following:

  • obtaining a home inspection report
  • obtaining suitable financing from a Lender of your choice
  • your lawyer’s review and approval of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale
How does refinancing/ obtaining a new mortgage work in Ontario?

Refinancing or mortgaging a property in Ontario is generally a two-step process. First, you must be approved for a loan by a Lender such as a bank, financial institution or even a private lender; and second, you need to retain a lawyer to act for you (and in the case of a bank or institutional refinance, the same lawyer will act for the Lender too) to receive mortgage instructions from the Lender.

Upon receipt of instructions, the lawyer will draft and prepare mortgage documentation in accordance with the Lender’s instructions. You will need to sign off on these new mortgage documents with your lawyer shortly before closing the new mortgage. Once your lawyer has met all of the funding conditions, the Lender will release the mortgage funds to your lawyer in trust. A new mortgage will be registered on your property and in a short while thereafter the old mortgage will be deleted from your property. Your real estate lawyer will disburse that money as per Lender instructions, and any funds left on account after all payouts have been made will be released to you, the Borrower.

Can a foreigner purchase property in Ontario?

Ontario is an attractive market for many foreign buyers.  Purchasers from abroad may certainly purchase property in Ontario. Any legal entity (individual person, corporation, partnership or trust) whether foreign or domestic, may purchase real estate in Ontario. Depending on where they buy, they may be subject to the Non-Resident Speculation Tax. Depending on the foreign buyer’s status as a potential Resident or Citizen of Canada, that tax may be refundable. Please contact one of our Real Estate lawyers for further details about whether the tax applies to your purchase.


What is a work permit?

Work Permits allow a foreign national to enter the Canadian labour market. Work Permits are often employer specific and based on job offers, but some individuals are entitled to open work permits, which allow them to work for any employer for the duration of the permit.

What is a Study Permit?

Study Permits allow foreign nationals to study in Canada. To be eligible, the foreign national must provide proof of acceptance into an approved institution and evidence of the required funds, amongst other documentation. Some students will be eligible for open work permits upon completion of their studies.

What is a Business Visitor?

A Business Visitor may be able to enter Canada for business purposes, provided they will not enter the Canadian labour market and will not conduct any work or work related activities.

What is a Visitor Visa?

A Visitor Visa allows a foreign national to visit Canada as a tourist. Foreign nationals who require a visa to enter Canada should apply for this document prior to entering Canada. Visitors from countries which are visa exempt may not need to apply for a visitor visa.

What is a Super Visa?

The Super Visa is an extended Visitor Visa which is available to parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents. It permits them to visit family in Canada for up to two (2) years without having to renew their status.

What is a Labour Market Impact Assessment?

The Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is an application by an employer to Service Canada to assess whether or not there is a labour market shortage in the occupation in which they wish to hire a foreign national.

I can’t open my Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada application form in PDF format. What can I do?

IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) forms that need to be validated using the “validate” button at the bottom of the form use special encoding. You need a computer with Adobe Reader 10 or higher to use them.

If you have problems opening a PDF on our website, try the following:

For PC users:

  • Find the link of the file you want to save (you may need to go back to the previous page to find it).
  • Right-click the link.
  • Select “Save target as” or “Save link as”.
  • Choose the location on your computer where you would like to save the file.
  • Select “Save”.
  • Use Windows Explorer to get to the location where you saved the file.
  • Right click on the PDF file.
  • Select “Open with”.
  • Select “Choose program”.
  • Select “Adobe Acrobat Reader”.
  • Make sure to check the box that says “Always use this program to open these files”.
  • Select “OK”.

 For Mac users:

  • Find the link of the file you want to save (you may need to go back to the previous page to find it).
  • Press the Control (ctrl) key and click on the link.
  • When the option menu appears, choose “Download link to disk” or “Download linked file”.
  • Choose the location on your computer where you would like to store the file. Your computer will start the download once you have selected a location.
  • Use Spotlight or Finder to look for the downloaded file.

You can get a free copy of Adobe Reader from the Adobe website. It is also available for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android devices.

Private Lending

What if I need to secure a private loan?

Our real estate and private lending lawyers represent Lenders in securing private loans by completing the necessary procedure and documentation to register a mortgage on the Borrower’s property.

What if I need a mortgage from a private lender?

Our real estate and private lending lawyers represent Borrowers as well as Lenders. If you require a private mortgage and require representation, we are available to help.

Let's Connect

We’re dedicated to bringing client-oriented legal services to everyone we work with. If you have any questions about real estate in Ontario or moving to Canada from abroad, we can help.


Schedule your consultation today.

708 – 477 Richmond St. W.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5V 3E7


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Marani Law LLP

30 St. Patrick Street, 4th Floor
Toronto, Ontario Canada M5T 3A3

Marani Law LLP International Advisory Experts (IAE) Awards Winner 2021
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