What does real estate conveyancing mean?

In law, or at least in law that is derived from English Common Law—like in the
US and Canada (except for Quebec)—conveyancing is a term that means two
things: it can mean the process of transferring the legal title of real property or it
can mean adding some kind of encumbrance (like a mortgage) to a property title.

For practical purposes, and the purposes of this article, we’ll assume it means
transferring a property’s title from one owner to another owner, typically through
the sale of the property.

The principle behind real estate conveyancing is simple. One person or group has
title to some property, and that title is then transferred to some other person or
group of individuals.

The actual process of conveyancing, however, is anything but simple. If you are a
buyer or seller of property, you really don’t need to know all the details about how
conveyancing works because in Canada, you are required to have a legal
representative to do it for you.

Each province in Canada does real estate conveyancing slightly differently. So, for
those doing a real estate transaction in British Columbia, what’s important is that
your legal representative—a notary public or a lawyer—understands the process of

Your notary or lawyer will guide you through the process.

The process of real estate conveyancing.

We will go over for you in broad strokes how the conveyancing process works, so
you will have a better understanding.

Basically, when you buy or sell real estate, you are entering into a contract. The
actual conveyancing process doesn’t start until the conditions have been removed
from the buy/sell contract.

When the buyer and seller are ready to “close” or start and finish the
conveyancing, the legal representative for each side (buyer and seller) will research
and confirm the following:

1. that the contract is executed as required,

2. that the buyer understands what he/she is buying,

3. that the seller understands what he/she is selling,

4. that any encumbrances on the property before the sale are removed and
looked after by the seller (unless something different is negotiated),

5. that property taxes have been paid and are in good standing up until the
time of closing and confirm what the taxes are,

6. that the seller pays off any mortgage on the property upon the sale,

7. that, if necessary, title insurance and/or a site survey is completed,

8. that the buyer does what is necessary to satisfy the new mortgage holder if
any (such as getting home insurance),

9. that the buyer understands and knows exactly what kind of strata or HOA
fees will apply, if applicable, and those fees are paid up to date,

10. that the buyer understands anything else related to the title, such as right-of-
way or set-backs or anything else attached to the title,

11. that all applicable taxes are paid on the transaction,

12. that the provincial land titles office registers the change in title and transfer
from seller to buyer,

This is the overall process. The notary or lawyer for each side will make sure that
all the documents are executed correctly, that everyone receives the copies they are
entitled to, and that money is transferred from buyer to seller after all the other
property and mortgage obligations have been paid.

When the conveyancing is complete, the buyer’s side is able to request a State of
Title document from the land titles office, which will show that the property is now
in the name of the buyer.

Based in White Rock, BC, Goddyn Notary Legal Services works with individuals,
businesses and families to navigate notarial and legal matters since 1984. If you
have any questions about this article or would like to make an appointment with
us, please call (604) 531-2611 or email us at info@notarypublicbc.com.