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Founded by a pair of top lawyers in 2001, LeClair Thibeault provides tailored legal solutions to demanding clients for both residential and commercial matters.

Buying Property In BC

A number of Albertans vacation in BC and eventually decide to either buy a recreational property or, in the alternative, decide that they want to live in BC. Of course, the opposite does hold true as well. However, for the Albertan moving to BC there are some significant differences in the process that create a bit of mystery for the experienced Buyer.

1. You Need A Lawyer Licensed In BC

This is sometimes a shock to clients but your lawyer in Alberta must be licensed to practice in BC. If you don’t have a local lawyer able to practice you will have to find a lawyer in BC. Fortunately, we are licensed and can do this for you to save time and money.

2. BC Provincial Transfer Tax Is A Shock

Saving money on your house and car insurance can be done in a variety of ways. One of the easiest ways is to ensure that you are getting what is called “multiple rider discounts”.

One of the biggest surprises for people buying in BC is that the BC Government collects what is called the PTT. This is calculated on the sale price of the property based on 1% of the first $200k and 2% of the next $1.8M and then 3% after. Doesn’t seem so bad but on a $700k property it is a $12,000 bill. In Alberta the cost is $50 + $40 per $100k which is $470. Yes, Alberta’s registration system is slow but at that price difference there are not many people who are that impatient.

3. Possession Dates vs. Completion Dates

BC property buyers from other provinces are sometimes shocked that the Completion Date and the Possession Date might not be the same. In fact, it happens quite often that the transaction closes the day before possession. In Alberta, these are normally one and the same unless something has materialized that might delay the closing. Also, for BC transactions the end of the day usually creates the deadlines whereas in Alberta it is 12 noon.

4. Real Estate Purchase Deposits

The standard BC Real Estate Association (BCREA) contract requires deposits within 24 hours of acceptance of the offer but this is often changed to within 24 hours of the final condition removal. The interesting part here is that various areas within BC treat that differently. The standard in Vancouver and area seems to be tied to the conditions whereas in other areas it is tied to acceptance. Either way it is important to discuss this with your agent in advance. In Alberta, the deposit is normally supplied when the offer is accepted.

5. The Property Disclosure Statement

In BC the Property Disclosure Statement is a standard document that is included in normal circumstances. It is a series of warranties and representations made by the Seller with regards to the property. From the Buyers’ end this is a useful and handy document to have. However, from the Sellers’ perspective it is certainly something that should be taken very seriously as it can and does create potential liability. In Alberta, the disclosure statement is rarely used as it is more of a caveat emptor situation where the Buyer is to beware.

6. Strata Document Review

In Alberta we refer to the condominium documents whereas in BC we refer to them as the strata documents – same sort of documents but a different name. The differences don’t end there, however, as it also comes down to the review process. In Alberta it is virtually the standard now to hire a condo doc review specialist to go through the documents to provide some guidance. This is not the standard in BC but it is starting to happen. Be aware of this issue and plan accordingly.

The key take-away is that there are some important differences. We can not only help you understand those differences but, as a lawyer licensed in Alberta and BC we can also help in your purchases and sales in BC as well as Alberta. There are some significant savings in having us help you in your home jurisdiction. Please feel free to contact us at any time with any questions.

For more information regarding real estate law, we are Calgary’s leading legal real estate team to help you. Contact us today, 403 245 – 3500, or email us at info@calgarylaw.com.