Ensuring Good Title to Your Home

Good title ensures that you really own the property, that it is correctly described in official
documents and properly registered, and that no one else has a claim or a lien you do not
know about.

There are three different approaches that your lawyer can take to assure you of good title.
It’s up to you and your lawyer to decide which one of the three options is most appropriate
in your situation.

With any of the options described below, your lawyer will conduct searches and inquiries
to find out if there are any title-related problems with the home you plan to buy. Your
lawyer will try to resolve most of these problems, and will advise you of how best to deal
with any situations that cannot be resolved.

Option 1: Lawyer’s Opinion on Title
If you select this option, your lawyer will provide you with a Letter of Opinion which states
your lawyer’s view of whether or not you have good and marketable title to your property.
As well, your lawyer will provide you with a description of the results of the searches and
inquiries conducted on your behalf, and will inform you in writing of any outstanding issues
that may affect your title to the property in the future.
If a problem is identified after you have closed, you can only seek compensation from your
lawyer if you can prove that he or she failed to do something that was legally required or
provided legal services that did not meet the standards set by the legal profession. You
may have to hire another lawyer to help you sue your first lawyer and get compensation
from the lawyer’s malpractice insurance plan.

Option 2: Title Insurance
Title insurance is an insurance policy that you can buy to protect your investment in your
property if there is a problem with title. For example, you may find out after you have
bought your home that someone else has a legitimate claim to it that has to be satisfied, or
you may have to pay to move a building that is too close to a neighbor’s property line.
The title insurance policy protects you against that loss that you suffer because of many
title-related problems. Most title policies also cover your legal costs if your title is
challenged.

Option 3: TitlePLUS®
TitlePLUS is a system that includes both an insurance policy and an electronic process that
collects information from lawyers who apply for a TitlePLUS policy as they proceed through
the steps in a residential real estate transaction.

The TitlePLUS insurance policy provides protection for both the title-related aspects of
buying a home and the legal services provided by your lawyer. It also automatically
provides both you and the lender with coverage.

If you opt to use TitlePLUS, your lawyer will ask you to sign an Acknowledgement and
Direction just before your home purchase actually closes. This document confirms your
instructions to your lawyer and that your lawyer has provided you with specific information
about your purchase.

Your choice of Options: An Important Decision
Making your choice among the three options described is a very important decision for the
homebuyer.

Excerpted from "Working with a Lawyer when you buy a Home”, written by the Law Society
of Upper Canada.