Buying a Home in Canada? Here’s What You Need to Know About Your Notary Public/Real Estate Lawyer

Buying a Home in Canada? Here’s What You Need to Know About Your Notary Public/Real Estate Lawyer

There are so many steps involved when looking to buy a home in Canada. It goes beyond paying for the home and collecting the keys to it. You need a notary to guide you through all the processes involved. There are several reasons why people use notaries in general. People use notaries to verify the authenticity of legal paperwork and transactions. One can say that notaries are a sort of anti-fraud method.

People use notaries when buying a home to ensure that all paperwork is legitimate and legalized. A notary public will carry out notary services such as confirming that the seller is the real homeowner, that the seller has the right to sell the home, and so on. Buying a home in Canada? Here’s what you need to know about your notary public or real estate lawyer.


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The Difference Between a Notary Public and a Real Estate Lawyer. Which One Is Best for You?

A notary public is someone appointed by the provincial government to administer oaths, verify the authenticity of legal paperwork, contracts, take affidavits, and so on. In Canada, notaries public may not necessarily be lawyers. They are restricted to the tasks aforementioned and are not allowed to practice law. However, this isn’t the same in British Columbia and Quebec. Here, they are appointed by the Supreme Court of British Columbia and are allowed to practice law because they have undergone law school and are now lawyers.

One particular difference between a notary public and a real estate lawyer is that a real estate lawyer can represent you in court while a notary public cannot. Notaries handle cases where an agreement has been reached and documents need to be signed. The notary public becomes the legal witness and will prepare the paperwork. Also, notaries mostly focus on real estate matters, contracts, business, wills, and so on.

While a real estate lawyer can represent you in any aspect where you need legal aid and give you legal advice, a notary public is restricted to notary services aforementioned. If one needs legal aid for the services above, then it is better to use a notary public since they are specialized in those aspects. The role of a real estate lawyer is to make sure property is transferred from a seller to a buyer legally. The lawyer can represent a client in court while a notary public cannot.

7 Questions to Ask Your Notary Public/Real Estate Lawyer Before Hiring Them

The process of home buying can be quite overwhelming especially when it comes to signing the paperwork. During this process, you need to get a notary public or a real estate lawyer to give you advice on filling out the paperwork. However, there are a lot of them out there and you need to work with someone you can trust. You will need someone who has the right knowledge, skills, and experience to help you through this process. You can ask these 7 questions to help you choose:

  1. What field of practice do you specialize in? You shouldn’t just assume the field your notary public or real estate lawyer specializes in. You should go on and ask them so you know who you are working with. This will also enable you to know if the notary has the right credentials to walk you through the entire notarization process of your property documents.
  2. How many years of experience do you have? You might want to work with an experienced person so you don’t get into any issues. Ask the notary public or lawyer how much experience they have in dealing with real estate matters and legal matters in general. If it is a notary public just starting, you might need someone with much more experience.
  3. How many people will be signing these documents? You should ask how many people will be signing the documents to know how many people will be handling your documents. Too many people handling your documents can lead to mistakes.
  4. What do your availabilities look like? Ask the notary public about their availabilities as they may not fit your schedule. Some notaries have short hours and some notaries have extended hours. For instance, if you can’t make it during the day, you might want to find a notary with evening hours.
  5. What do you offer that others don’t? Asking about what they offer that others don’t can help you make the final decision of choosing between 2 potential notaries.
  6. How many clients do you take on at once? Some notaries maximize the number of clients they take at once so they can increase their income. Taking on too many clients, however, may lead to mistakes on your paperwork because of too much going on at once.
  7. Do you see any challenges with the notarization of these documents? Some notaries/lawyers are more experienced than others and know how to decipher some potential issues that may arise with your specific documents. Noticing these challenges may help you prevent some problems in the near future.

The Notary Fee When Buying a Home (the cost for notarized property documents)

To finish a real estate transaction in Canada, you often need to get notary services and pay a fee for these services. The notary public will register the property sale at the land registry office, prepare the mortgage deed, and bill of sale. The fee for notary services is usually between $200 to $1200 when buying a home in Canada. The price fee could also vary by region, building, number of different accommodations, number of buyers, and so on. You shouldn’t necessarily go for the cheapest or lowest price. Rather, you should be careful enough to go with a notary public who will offer quality services at a fair price.

Source: squareone

What to Bring to Your Notary Appointment

When going to your notary appointment, you need to make sure you have all the important items needed for a smooth notarization process. Here is what you need to bring:

  • All the documents you need to notarize.
  • A valid ID.
  • Whomever 2nd or third party is involved.

What to Expect During Your Notary Appointment When Buying a Home

During your notary appointment when buying a home, your notary will verify that you are the true owner/seller of the property, that you have the right to sell/buy the property and that the other person signing gives their consent to the sale/purchase. The notary will also make you sign various important property documents. Property documents are sometimes difficult to comprehend, and since the signing process is so rapid, you may not have the time to read them thoroughly. To better understand property documents check out our guide to understanding property documents when buying a home.


Getting a home is a good investment. However, there are several steps involved. You need to get a notary public or a real estate lawyer to guide you through the paperwork and notarize it. This notary public will ensure that you are getting value for your money and that everything is done legitimately. Hiring an experienced notary who doesn’t charge too little or too much is the right way to go. When going through the notarization process, there are so many property documents that are difficult to understand. To help you better understand these documents, here’s a guide to understanding property documents when buying a home.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions About Notaries/Real Estate Lawyers and Property Documents in Canada

Can a notary notarize a property document in another language?

Yes, a notary can notarize a property document in another language as long as they have great comprehension of said language. If the notary does not have comprehension of said language, you will need to get the documents translated by a certified translator. If a translation is given to the notary, they will first have to read it to assure that the translation is accurate. If the notary cannot properly understand the translated document, they will not be able to notarize the document.

Where do you find a notary public?

To find a notary public in Canada, you can either search online by looking at the best reviews, get recommendations from friends and family who have recently bought a property or look on highly recognized websites from each province.

Below are the aforementioned highly recommended websites from each province:

  • In Quebec, you can find a notary on Trouver un Notaire.
  • In Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, you can find a notary public on Notary Pro.
  • In British Columbia you can find a notary on BC Notaries.

In Canada in general you can find a notary on Notary Pro and on

Who pays the notary: the buyer or seller?

The last and important step in every real estate transaction is carried out at the notary’s office. This is where the buyer and seller legally confirm the bill of sale. It is also when the keys of the home are handed to its new owner. The notary is there to ensure that the transaction is seamless. It is the buyer who picks the notary and therefore will pay the notary fees.

How long does a visit at the notary office last and how many notary visits will I need when buying a home?

You will need at most 2 visits to the notary office in the course of buying a home. The first one is for the signing of the mortgage and this is done about a week before the transaction. The second one is for the signing of the sale and the date is up to the buyer to choose.

The first meeting, which is the mortgage signing, lasts for about an hour and a half. Here, the service contract will be discussed with the notary as well as verifications done on the property. Other important discussions will be made as well. The second meeting will take place before the seller and real estate broker. This also doesn’t take long as the notary will read the deed of sale and get it signed. The buyer will receive the keys upon finalization.

Are notaries mandatory when buying a home in Canada?

In Canada, notaries are important parts of any home-buying process. However, notaries are not mandatory in Canada except for in Quebec and British Columbia. In Quebec and British Columbia, notaries are lawyers and are mandatory during any type of real estate transaction.



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Ann Nacario

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Meet Ann – our head writer with a knack for making moving and city living a breeze. From the many details of moving to picking the perfect moving company, she’s your guide. Ann has a friendly yet detailed approach to ensure your move goes off without a hitch. When she’s not writing about relocation, it will always be on her mind, but you’ll catch her spending time with her three furry friends.

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