During real estate transactions, a notary performs work for the seller, including ensuring the seller’s mortgage loan is paid, so the seller must assume the fees accordingly.
In a real estate transaction (sale of a home, condo or piece of property), the notary works for both the seller and the buyer, even though he or she is chosen by the buyer. As the notary works for both parties, each party must cover the costs associated with the verifications and disbursements made on its behalf.
The seller is responsible for discharging the mortgage: If the seller took out a mortgage to purchase the property and there is an outstanding balance, the notary must make sure the mortgage is paid off before proceeding with the sale of the property. The notary will repay the seller’s mortgage lender using the proceeds from the sale and will then have the seller’s mortgage discharged and the title updated with the land registry. The seller must therefore cover the notary’s fees for preparing and obtaining the mortgage discharge.
The seller is responsible for verifying the taxes and settling the unpaid balance: The notary must also obtain official tax statements from the municipality to make sure that all the municipal and school taxes have been paid by the seller. The notary may also charge a fee for this verification and pay any balance owed.
Examples of fees payable by the seller:
- Obtaining a mortgage statement from the seller’s lender, repaying the loan balance, preparing the discharge statement and registering it with the land registry
- Obtaining municipal, school and water tax statements
- Obtaining condo fee statements
- Obtaining title insurance
- Preparing the new form required by the land registry
- Transferring funds
- Drawing up powers of attorney
- Holding funds in trust, including agreement and administration
- Obtaining a bridge loan
- Requesting that the meeting be held separately from the meeting with the buyer
- Obtaining the deed of transfer of real estate
- Resolving defects in title
The seller must also reimburse the notary for the amounts paid by the notary on the seller’s behalf, including:
- Cost of registering the discharge with the land registry
- Cost of obtaining official municipal and school tax statements
- Cost of obtaining condo fee statements
- Title insurance premiums
- Fees incurred when using wire transfers to pay the real estate broker’s commission, cover the cost of a new certificate of location, and pay any tax arrears
- Fees for trust accounting management services provided to the seller
- Copies of deeds and documents
- Courier fees
Keep in mind that the notary’s bill includes fees, disbursements and taxes (GST and QST).
Are the fees set by the Chambre des notaires?
Notary fees are not set by the Chambre des notaires du Québec. Fees are governed by the Code of Ethics of Notaries and are based on several factors, including the time and effort that went into preparing the transaction, the complexity of the transaction, and the notary’s expertise. The fees must be fair and reasonable, and the Code of Ethics of Notaries sets out rules that notaries must follow. What’s more, notaries must inform their clients ahead of time of the approximate fees and of any changes, and provide them with a detailed invoice. When clients are charged an hourly rate, the invoice must also show the total number of hours spent by the notary and the notary’s staff.
If you believe the fees you are being charged are excessive, you can access the fee mediation service provided by the Chambre des notaires du Québec at no cost to you.
To use the service, you must submit your application within 45 days of:
- The date you received the bill, whether it is paid or not
- The moment you became aware of the fees being deducted or withdrawn from the funds that the notary is holding for you or has received on your behalf.
For more information, refer to the steps involved in applying for mediation.