Bring big-city mindset to rural real estate deals

Don’t skimp on your legal due diligence when buying your dream home in the country.  

Homebuyers have always known that they can get a much bigger bang for their buck the further they’re prepared to travel from the city.  

But the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic appears to have spurred more Torontonians to actually follow through and purchase property in rural and suburban settings.  

According to a recent RE/MAX survey, 32 per cent of Canadians no longer want to live in urban centres, while almost half of respondents said they were looking for a home with more space for features like pools, balconies or large yards.  

That in turn has helped fuel a boost in demand for properties in further-out markets, such as the Niagara and Waterloo regions, as well as cottage country hotspots Muskoka and the Kawarthas.  

According to the survey, the trend was even stronger among under-55s, many of whom may be looking to quit the rat race and make their remote working arrangements permanent.  

“Despite the tragic impacts of the pandemic, our optimism in the strength of Canada’s housing market has always remained, and current market activity further exemplifies this. Many  homebuyers are now exploring different neighbourhoods that better suit their new lifestyles, and real estate agents are getting busier and working more with buyers from different major  cities,” said RE/MAX Regional Executive Vice President Elton Ash in a statement. 

But before you swap your big-city attitude once and for all in favour of a new laid back rural mindset, I’d suggest you bring a little urban brashness to your legal due diligence. 

There are so many moving parts to a rural property deal that it’s really important to have someone who knows exactly what to look for, how to navigate the process, and to avoid its many pitfalls.  

Many properties in rural areas have never been entered into the Land Registry Office’s electronic record system, which can lead to hiccups if you’re not prepared for the extra time  and hassle associated with handling and mailing paper documents.  

If you’re unfamiliar with the area you’re moving to, it may also be difficult to tell exactly what you’re getting as part of the deal, so a thorough title search is critical. Depending on the  circumstances, transfers of property including parcels of vacant land may also be exempt from HST, which could have a big impact on the closing costs you can expect to pay.

Disclaimer: The content on this website is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice or an opinion of any kind. Users of this website are advised to seek specific legal advice by contacting members of Laredo Law (or their own legal counsel) regarding any specific legal issues.

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Jacob Manishevitz is a mortgage agent with iBridge Capital. His brokerage donates to several charities that range from providing drinkable water to people in need in developing countries; and supporting important organizations by way of activity-based fundraising. If you are looking for worthwhile causes and want to jump on board, please reach out to Jacob.

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