Title Search

Overview of Our Title Searches Services

Title searches illuminate any existing liens or claims registered against a property. They are a vital aspect of real estate transactions, ensuring that the buyer’s lawyer can request any liens to be settled from the sale proceeds, thereby ensuring a clean title for the buyer.

Title searches are typically conducted by a real estate lawyer or a title company representing the buyer, the lender, and occasionally the seller. In a purchase transaction, the buyer’s lawyer must conduct a title search by the requisition date specified in the agreement of purchase and sale, usually two weeks prior to closing. This two-week gap allows the seller and their lawyer to obtain any payout statements and resolve any outstanding claims on the title before the closing date.

A title search might reveal various issues, such as breaks in the title chain, construction or property tax liens, easements affecting the property’s use, zoning ordinances that might interfere with your intended use of the property, and any mortgages or building code violations that need resolution before the sale.

Types of Search

Though title insurance can cover some unknown defects against a property, it’s essential to conduct these additional searches to gain a comprehensive understanding of the property’s status, for your peace of mind. Title Searches form the bedrock of the due diligence process, safeguarding your interests in any real estate transaction.

Property Tax Search

Every Municipality has zoning by-laws determining the permitted use of a property. Non-compliance can lead to significant issues, hence the importance of a Zoning Search.

Water/Utility Search

Similarly to the tax search, your lawyer would request a Utility Certificate from the Municipality. This certificate discloses any water arrears on the property. Just like with tax arrears, water arrears incurred by the previous owner not discovered by the new buyer at the time of closing will be covered by Title insurance.

Zoning Search

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Building Code Search

The Building Code Act’s requirements are enforced by Municipalities. Any violations could lead to an order to rectify the issue within a specific timeframe. If the owner fails to comply, the Municipality can rectify the problem at the owner’s expense, collected the same way as property taxes.

Electrical Safety Search

Major electrical work requires a permit from the Electrical Safety Authority. If the work is done incorrectly, a work order is issued to remedy the problem. An Electrical Safety Search ensures that no such outstanding orders exist.

Fire Protection Search

The Fire Marshall can inspect the property to assess its fire safety. If any issues are found, they must be addressed by the owner immediately. A Fire Protection Search ensures your property meets all necessary fire safety standards.

Title Searches Process: A Step-by-Step Guide

Title searching is not a simple matter of pulling a parcel; it requires time, in-depth knowledge, and an understanding of the property type in question. Our experienced real estate team has performed thousands of these searches, ensuring the security of our client’s investments.


Contact Us

Reach out to us by filling out our contact form. Tell us a bit about the property you’re buying and how we can assist with searching its title.


Confirming Availability

Once our office confirms availability, we’ll arrange a meeting to discuss the scope of the searches (both title and off title) you wish to conduct. We will also provide you with a timeline for the process.


Agreement and Retainer

If all parties are in agreement, we will send you a retainer agreement. This is a crucial step to officially initiate our professional relationship.


Retainer Fee Payment

Upon return of the signed retainer agreement, you’ll be required to pay the retainer fee. This step marks the official commencement of our work together.


Commence Title Searching Process

Once the retainer fee is paid, we will start the process of conducting the title search. Rest assured that our expert team will handle this intricate process with diligence and precision.


Review of Findings

Upon completion of the title search, a lawyer from our team will reach out to discuss the findings. We’ll address any concerns you may have and offer the best possible legal advice to secure your investment.

Title Searches: Frequently Asked Questions

Gas and hydro arrears do not form a lien on title, hence they are not necessary searches to conduct when buying a property. Since they do not form a lien on title, title insurance will not cover any losses from hydro/gas arrears. Utility companies do require notification of ownership change, as they will be reading meters as of the closing date.

The duration for conducting a title search varies depending on the type of property and the number of title and off title searches the lawyer is conducting. The time can range from a day to up to two weeks. Hence, it is prudent to inform your lawyer about the off title searches you wish to conduct well ahead of time.

Yes, you can. You can visit your local land registry office and conduct a title search. However, this process might create unnecessary delays in your transaction. The legal fees charged by your real estate lawyer usually include the fee for searching title, so it’s beneficial to utilize the service you’re already paying for.

If the title of the property contains the words “subject to,” it does not necessarily indicate a problem. Sometimes the interest referred to is an easement for repair or accessing the property for repair and maintenance purposes. In some instances, the property may be subject to a spousal interest or a beneficiary’s interest. In the case of spousal or beneficiary interest, the lawyer ensures that the interest is released once the property ownership is transferred.

An execution arises when a party loses a lawsuit or there is a judgment against an individual by way of a court order. The creditor then files to obtain a writ against the debtor. When a purchaser is buying a property, a title search is conducted to ensure that there are no outstanding liens against said property. A real estate lawyer always performs a search against the current owner to ensure that there are no writs of execution filed against the individual. If the search is clear, it will not bind the property. If the search is not clear, there are steps that the lawyer must take to ensure a clear title.