You have found the apartment of your dreams. At last, you will buy the property you have coveted. But before signing the offer to purchase, nagging doubts are in the back of your mind, you have many questions:
Buying an apartment in a co-ownership is a major investment in a lifetime. To avoid being caught off guard during the process leading to your purchase, you should seek proper assistance.
Section 1719 of the Civil code of Québec states that the seller must provide the buyer with a copy of the deed of purchase, as well as with a copy of the owner history and of the certificate of location he has on hand. Prepared by a land surveyor, the certificate of location is part of the property titles the seller must supply.
In the interest of the buyer, the certificate of location should clearly describe the current condition of all private portions (for instance, an apartment, a parking or storage space, or even land). Should the seller not have a certificate of location on hand (and unless the promise to purchase states otherwise), they will need to have one prepared, at their own expense.
The intervention of the notary is very important when purchasing an apartment in a divided co-ownership. A professional, member of the “Chambre des notaires du Québec” (Québec Chamber of Notaries), he is also a public officer. As such, the notary has without limitation the mission of executing deeds to which the parties wish or are required to endow with authenticity (such as a declaration of co-ownership). Even though it is preferable that he should get involved at the outset of a transaction, this legal adviser usually gets involved after the signing of the offer to purchase or of the preliminary contract.
The notary, in his capacity of public officer:
Warrants the validity of the deed of sale;
Is bound to act objectively and to give legal advice to all the parties (equally to the purchaser and the vendor);
Is bound to a duty of information to the parties, which means he should give the parties relevant advice and information in relation with the deeds signed before him.
Once the apartment of your dreams in your price range found, the next step is to make an offer to purchase, either verbally or in writing. Although the verbal option is legally valid, it is better to formalize it in writing. L’Organisme d’autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec (OACIQ) (the Quebec Organization for the Self-Regulation of Real Estate Brokerage) imposes a rule of ethics, namely that all acting real estate brokers must record in writing the intention of the parties to enter into real estate transaction.