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Who pays for what at the notary’s?

The final, compulsory step in every real estate transaction in Quebec takes place at the notary’s office. This is when the buyer and the seller formally confirm the bill of sale. And often during this appointment, the house keys are handed over to the new owner.

No matter how the home was sold (with or without a real estate broker), the notary is there to make sure that the transaction goes smoothly.

“On principle, the notary is chosen by the buyer, but that notary then becomes the notary for the transaction and is impartial,” explains Elena-Maria Bejan, notary at DuProprio. “The notary makes sure the best interests of all parties involved are respected.”

The role of the notary includes reviewing the title and recording the transaction with the Bureau de la publicité des droits.

The buyer’s share

As mentioned above, it is usually the buyer who chooses the notary that will prepare the bill of sale. The buyer pays the notary’s fees for the following:

  • Title review
  • Analysis of the surveyor’s certificate
  • File opening, closing and storage
  • Copies of the bill of sale for all parties
  • Adjustment and apportionment preparation (municipal and school taxes, rent, condo fees, etc.)

The seller’s share

The seller also has some costs to cover for the transaction.

  • Discharge of mortgage, if required
  • Cheques issued for:
    • Land surveyor’s fees (if the seller hasn’t already paid for the new location certificate)
    • Payment of arrears in municipal or school taxes, and where applicable, condo fees
    • Any other cheques requested by the seller, other than for the balance to the seller
  • Management fees for the trustee account for the cheques issued by the notary
  • Deposit of the buyer’s cheque to the seller’s bank, or electronic transfer or cheque certification if required by the seller
  • Any other just and reasonable fees established by the executing notary for the specific real estate file

If it takes more than one appointment to sign the bill of sale, this may result in additional fees. These fees must then be paid by the party who requested the additional steps and who benefits from them.

Lastly, you should know that there is nothing preventing the buyer and seller from agreeing on a different way of paying the fees and costs involved.