Vancouver Real Estate Glossary

certified check (bank draft)
It's a form of check for which the bank verifies that sufficient funds exist in the account to cover the check, and so certifies, at the time the check is written. Those funds are then set aside in the bank's internal account until the check is cashed or returned by the payee. Thus, a certified check cannot "bounce", and, in this manner, its liquidity is similar to cash, absent failure of the bank.

completion (closing) date
Date on which the purchaser's solicitor undertakes to the vendor (or his solicitor) that he will pay the balance owing to the vendor upon the Transfer of Title being accepted for registration.

clause "As is, Where is"
Subject/clause added to a contract of purchase and sale that states that the buyer is accepting the property as it is and where it is with absolutely no representations as to its condition.

It's a voluntary agreement to conserve land or protect features relating to it. It is an agreement between a private land owner and a designated individual or organization registered on the land title and is legally binding on the future owners of the property. A covenant may prohibit the keeping of certain livestock on the property, construction of dwelling houses less than particular value or prohibit subdivision.

date of acceptance
This is when the buyer and seller agree to a price and conditions. Most offers are conditional, meaning the buyers agree to buy if they are satisfied with the condition of the home, the documentation associated with the home, and any other conditions in the contract of purchase and sale. The buyer is usually given a week to satisfy their conditions, but this can vary depending on the deal.

Standard practice requires a buyer to place at least of 5% of the purchase price in the agent's trust account, upon the final subject removal.

Usually is registered on the certificate of title to the property.This is similar to a right-of-way in that it grants rights to the holder to use portions of the owner's land. An easement may be for a variety of purposes including for the maintenance of an existing enroachment or for the passage of people or vehicles for the purpose of access to water or land. Examples of easements: pathways/walkways, access roads, utilities, right to park, sewer/water lines).

freehold property
If you purchase a house, you automatically own the land the house is built on. This is known as freehold. If you buy a condo you own the building outright but only have part ownership of the land that the building is on. The proportion of the land that you own is based on your unit entitlement which is calculated on the size of the condo. The unit entitlement is registered in the BC Land Titles Office on the strata plan for that building. Freehold is the most common type of home ownership in Vancouver.

maintenance / strata fees - payments made by strata lot owners. This money is used to help pay for maintenance and the upkeep of the community. Strata fees are mandatory, and every owner must pay their fair share.

Your fees will vary depending on the type of strata you belong to, and what types of amenities are available to owners of the corporation.

Low strata fees aren’t good. Strata fees that are too low indicate poor management, insufficient maintenance, or an underfunded CRF. It may not seem like a huge deal, but a poorly maintained building could impact how much you are able to sell your individual home for. Alternatively, you may be stuck paying a hefty special levy or assessment if an expensive repair is needed and the CRF is too low.

legal description
The description of a piece of property identifying its specific location in terms established by the municipality or other jurisdiction in which the property resides.

leasehold property
Leasehold property ownership in Vancouver means that the purchaser does not have ownership in the land. When the lease expires you pack your bags and go. The purchaser owns any improvements on the land, but is leasing the property itself from the owner. This land is leased by the developer (called a head lease) for 99 years from the federal, provincial or municipal government, a regional district or an approved public authority (such as an native band, university or a school board). When a buyer purchases a leasehold strata lot, they register an interest as a leasehold tenant. The buyer is assigned this right from the developer. When the first purchaser sells to the second purchaser, the first purchaser's interest is assigned as a tenant to the second purchaser, and so on. Leasehold property is not as easily financed compare to freehold. Most banks are not comfortable with the fact that the buyer does not own the land and thus require a minimum of a 35% down payment.

parcel identifier (PID)
It's a nine digit number, unique to each property. This information appears on the Contract of Purchase and Sale, Property tax notice or on a State of Title Certificate. Your City Hall or Regional District office will also have this information available for you.

possession date
Date on which the purchaser is entitled to possession of the property. And usually is the date after the completion date.

statutory Right-of-Way
Usually is registered on the certificate of title to the property. These charges enable the holder (usually a public utility company) to construct and maintain certain works on the land. Often the land owner is prohibited from putting any permanent structure (or maybe even the trees) on the area where the works are located. As well, the holder may be entitled to enter on the land (perhaps the whole of the land) for purposes with the right-of-way. Rights of way: utility corridors, power lines, gas/oil transmission line.

secondary suite ("mortgage helper")
Area of the house that can be separate from the rest of the house, including common areas such as a laundry or mudroom (by means of being walled off and having a doorway). A suite also must contain a bedroom (i.e. sleeping facility), a bathroom (i.e. sanitary facility), and a kitchen. The kitchen must have cooking facilities, usually a stove or microwave, but a stove plug (220 volts) or a gas line into the kitchen is also considered a cooking facility, since having these power sources would enable quick and easy installation of a stove. A suite is legal if it was created with a Building Permit.

Specific map of a piece of property which includes the legal boundaries and the improvements of features of the land. Also dispirit rights of way, easements, and encroachments.

title search
An examination of public records to determine and confirm a property's legal ownership, and find out what claims are on the property. A title search is usually performed by a title company or an attorney, who researches the vested owner, the liens or other judgments on the property, the loans on the property and the property taxes due. Before you close a deal on the purchase of a home, a title company will search public records on the property's ownership. Once the search is finished, you'll receive a preliminary title report. If there are any issues or problems with the title, you can point them out to the seller. Some problems are easily cleared up while others may take so long that they jeopardize your loan commitment.

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