Welcome to Nixon Wenger LLP
Real Estate Law
A full-service law firm, Nixon Wenger LLP is committed to our clients.
We pride ourselves on providing excellent legal advice.
Our experienced and knowledgeable lawyers provide a full range of real estate services. Whether it’s your first time buying or selling a home, or if you’re a seasoned land developer we will act on your behalf to ensure a smooth transaction.
Nixon Wenger LLP acts for land developers of all sizes, from developers of master planned communities featuring amenities such as golf courses and recreation centers to individuals completing a two lot subdivision or a home site severance. We work with you, your other advisors and the various approving authorities to ensure that your vision for your land is realized. We assist clients throughout the subdivision, from meeting the terms of their preliminary layout approval through to the sale of lots.
In addition to land development work, we are also pleased to assist clients with preparing documents such as easements and restrictive covenants as well as reviewing any charges that are registered on title to your property and advising you as to their impact.
Real Estate Litigation
Real Estate Litigation is often required when disputes over land and property arise. In addition to facilitating real estate transactions, we provide advice and representation for corporations and individuals on a wide range of real estate and property disputes.
Our lawyers have successfully advised and represented clients on matters including:
Buying or selling your house can be one of the biggest decisions that you make. It can be a stressful time for you and your family, but choosing experienced and knowledgeable advisors can help. Our lawyers can provide you with a full range of real estate services, including acting for purchasers, sellers and refinancing existing properties, along with preparing agreements for the ownership of real estate, such as co-ownership agreements. We can also assist you in preparing easements, covenants, rights of first refusal, as well as preparing the necessary documents for rent-to-own situations.
As a purchaser, what does a lawyer do for me?
At Nixon Wenger we will review title to the property, including reviewing and advising you on charges registered on title such as easements, statutory rights-of-way, restrictive covenants and building schemes. Our second major role is to convey the legal title of the property from the seller to you. This includes: ensuring that your deposit is applied to your house purchase, co-ordinating with your lender to prepare mortgage documents, applying the mortgage proceeds to the purchase price, paying the purchase price to the seller’s lawyer, paying the property transfer tax (if applicable) to the Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia, registering the transfer of the land and the mortgage in the Land Title Office, and ensuring that the seller’s mortgage, should they have one, is discharged from title. Our third major role is to assist you with any legal issues which may arise during the purchase, including for a breach of contract.
What is property transfer tax?
Property transfer tax is a tax levied by the Province of British Columbia on the transfer of British Columbia real estate. It is calculated as one percent of the first $200,000 of the purchase price and two percent of the remaining amount. As an example, a purchaser who buys a house for $500,000 must pay $8,000 in property transfer tax.
Are there any exemptions to property transfer tax?
There are a limited number of exemptions from property transfer tax. These include an exemption for a qualifying first time homebuyer as well as for transfer of an interest in a principal residence between spouses. We would be happy to speak to you about whether you qualify for a property transfer tax exemption.
Who prepares the contract of purchase and sale for the property?
If you have engaged the services of a realtor, then typically the realtor will prepare the contract. We are happy to work with your realtor should they have any questions regarding specific wording or legal issues. If you have not engaged a realtor, then we can prepare the contract of purchase and sale on your instructions. Typically, it is the purchaser’s advisor who prepares the contract and not the seller.
As a seller, what does a lawyer do for me?
Your lawyer will review the sale documents, draft certain sale documents, tend to any necessary payouts upon the receipt of sale proceeds, including your mortgage, sign-up the documents with you, and advise you on any legal issues that may arise in connection with your sale.
I want to consolidate three parcels of land and then subdivide into residential lots. Zoning on two of the lots permits smaller lots but the third lot only permits larger lots. When I consolidate, will the zoning of the two lots extend to the third lot?
The zoning of the third lot will not automatically change to match the two lots. You will have to apply to have that portion of the land re-zoned.
I received my preliminary layout approval some time ago. I noticed that it will expire shortly and I am very unlikely to have all of my work completed for my subdivision before the PLA expires. What can I do?
It is possible, in some circumstances, to have the time limit on a PLA extended. We would be pleased to talk to you about this.
I have a large property which I would like to develop. However, I am not able, nor do I think it makes financial sense, to develop the entire property without first selling some units. What can I do?
It is possible to have a phased development where the subdivision of the land proceeds in smaller, more manageable chunks so that you can subdivide and sell some lots without going to the expense of subdividing all of the land at once.
It has recently come to my attention that my driveway is partially over my neighbor’s land. My neighbor doesn’t have a problem with this, but I wish to sell my property and want to ensure that any purchaser can continue to use the driveway. What can I do?
In this type of situation it is common to register an easement benefitting your property over your neighbor’s property for that portion of your neighbor’s property that includes your driveway. You may have to have a surveyor survey the area and create an easement plan. We can then prepare an easement for you and have it registered in the Land Title Office. You will typically have to pay for the cost of the easement, the surveyor and possibly pay an agreed upon amount to your neighbor for your neighbor to grant you the easement.