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Toronto Real Estate Law Blog

3 types of mortgages in Canada

Did you know that there are different types of mortgages? The type of mortgage you choose depends on your credit situation, your goals and needs at the time you borrow and the lender you work with. Three of types of mortgages we'll discuss in this post are closed mortgages, open mortgages and convertible mortgages.

Closed mortgages involve an agreement to pay a certain amount each period over a certain amount of time at a certain interest rate. If you make early payments, you might be subject to penalties in a closed mortgage. These types of mortgages are good for the lender, because they ensure compensation if the buyer saves on interest by paying early. They might also be beneficial to the buyer, though, because terms and interest never change.

Common real estate disputes after you buy property

Last week, we discussed some steps you might take if you find yourself involved in a commercial real estate dispute. But what if your dispute is related to your residence -- and has nothing to do with the buying and selling of property? Some of the most common real estate disputes arise between neighbors.

One of the most common disputes that comes up between neighbors has to do with noise. You paid good money to buy a home in what you believed would be an enjoyable neighborhood, and having that enjoyment ruined by late-night parties or other loud activities can be devastating to your lifestyle. Likewise, if you purchased property in an especially quiet neighborhood, you still have the right to regular activities during the daytime, which might make some noise. Whatever side of a noise dispute you are on, you have legal rights and an options for protecting your interests.

What steps should be taken after commercial real estate disputes?

Commercial leases can be complex, and they come with a lot of information that isn't typically included in residential leases. Most businessmen and women have dealt with contracts enough to understand how serious mistakes can become, so they know it's important to vet leases thoroughly before signing them. If you don't understand the language in a lease you are responsible for signing, seeking third-party, professional advice can be helpful.

Even after you vet a lease, though, you can run into trouble. Disputes with commercial landlords are typically less common than disputes with residential landlords, but issues can arise. Whether you don't agree on requirements for signage or you believe a landlord is shirking on his or her maintenance requirements, it's important to understand how to try to resolve disputes and then move to legal action if resolution is not possible.

Seeking your own legal advice before signing contracts

Contracts, whether in a business, employment or service-related environment, should be taken very seriously. A contract lays out exactly what your expectations and responsibilities are in connection with an agreement, and too many people sign these documents without reading and understanding them fully. In doing so, you could agree to something you aren't prepared to handle or accept a service that doesn't meet your needs.

Today, we sign so many agreements because of digital media and computer services, and putting our name on a piece of paper or clicking a digital signature button seems like no big deal. It has, in fact, become a running joke that no one reads the Apple or the Facebook terms of service before agreeing. While you might get away with signing Apple's TOS without reading it, you simply can't do the same with legal contracts that deal with business agreements, home purchases or other major relationships.

4 easy tips to pay off your mortgage faster

A mortgage is a big financial commitment with a monthly payment that is usually a large percent of a family's income. What could you do with that extra income if you didn't have to pay the mortgage every month? Answers generally range from savings to vacations. If you're looking to get ahead on your mortgage, here are four tips that are easy to integrate into financial plans.

Rounding up your mortgage payment by any amount makes a difference. Even adding a little bit to each payment shaves months from the total time you're paying a mortgage, and rounding up by $30 or more a month could reduce your total payment time by years. Round up to the nearest 10 or 100 if you are able; a $452 payment might become a $460 or $500 payment.

Even nature can lead to real estate disputes

When you buy a home, you probably don't plan on getting into a dispute over your real estate purchase. But reasons for a legal dispute can arise from surprising circumstances. When talking about real estate disputes, most Canadians likely think about disputes that might arise between buyers and sellers of property -- and those certainly do require appropriate legal actions to protect your interests. Sometimes, though, disputes come from nature itself.

One thing that can spark a surprising number of real estate disputes is a tree. The entire tree, or part of the tree, might fall from one person's property to another's, causing damage. A dispute might arise about who is responsible for the damage. A tree growing in one person's yard might infringe upon the yard of a neighbor, causing a dispute about whether the tree should be torn down. The tree might cause a problem with an entrance or exit to someone's property, or the tree's branches might become a nuisance against a building on a neighboring property. These all might seem like small concerns, but they can become larger legal issues if neighbors are unable to come to agreements.

Why might you consider buying title insurance?

Title insurance refers to a policy that you purchase when you are buying a commercial or residential property. The policy provides coverage for any losses you might incur because there is an unknown problem with your title.

Usually, title insurance is purchased with a single premium payment and a payout only occurs if a title issue arises at some point in time while you own or are paying a mortgage on the property. Because title insurance can also benefit your lender, many lenders require that it be part of any purchase and mortgage agreement.

What is a listing agreement?

A listing agreement is a written contract that is signed between the seller of a home and the company that is brokering the sale. Usually, the seller works with an agent, and the agent works for a brokerage firm. The listing agreement is between the seller and the firm.

The listing agreement is usually required before the brokerage and its agents can act on behalf of you to sell your property. The agreement gives them certain abilities to promote your property and find someone to buy it.

Planning a commercial real estate purchase

Buying a piece of commercial property should never be a spontaneous decision. Some experts say you should plan at least six months before making a purchase, but you can't always do that if a great deal comes up at an opportune time. Even during a rush to purchase, you can do some research and ask the right questions.

Always research the construction companies involved in building commercial property. For property that is already developed, ensure companies involved are known for quality work and take time to understand any guarantees that will transfer to you during the purchase. If something goes wrong with any aspect of a commercial property, this information lets you know who to turn to for assistance or possible compensation.

Buyers beware: Warnings of mortgage fraud in Canada

The Financial Services Commissioner of Ontario recently released warnings to home buyers and owners that the Canadian mortgage market could be rife with attempts at fraud. One of the areas where mortgage fraud is most likely is in refinance options.

According to FSCO, unauthorised lenders are reaching out to homeowners and others to offer second mortgage options. These equity loans are often marketed as available to home owners whether or not they have good credit. The problem is that these are possibly illegal lenders who are charging potentially illegal interest rates and fees. In some cases, the lenders are enticing home owners into second and even third mortgages on their properties.

Yigal Rifkind, Barrister & Solicitor Attorney

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