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Real estate transactions best done with legal guidance

The housing market in Alberta does not decline during winter. Real estate transactions continue, and some buyers may have weather-related concerns. Nobody wants to take ownership of a house in the middle of winter when the roof and eavestroughs are packed with snow and frozen leaves. However, if damage occurs after buying the property but before closing and taking occupation, who is responsible for the repair costs?

Until closing and the new owners take possession of the residence, the previous owner remains responsible for the property. Purchasers have a few different options. If the damage is evident at the time of the purchase, the seller may agree to take responsibility for the necessary repairs and the related costs. Another option is for the seller to claim from insurance and provide the new owners with the proceeds to finance the repairs.

However, if substantial damage occurs in between signing and taking occupation of the real estate, the seller may refuse to have repairs done at his or her expense. If this happens, the buyer may be entitled to cancel the transaction and the agreement with the seller. If such circumstances arise, it would be appropriate to discuss this with a real estate lawyer to ensure the correct procedures are followed.

Many prospective homebuyers in Alberta consult with experienced legal counsel from the outset. Having the guidance and support of a seasoned lawyer through all the legalities of real estate transactions can help one avoid dilemmas such as those described above. Knowing that all the legal aspects have been addressed appropriately can provide peace of mind for real estate buyers.

Source:, "Who is responsible for damage that happens between signing and moving day?", Joseph Richer, Nov. 26, 2016

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