All there is to know about the deed of sale of a house

Buying or selling a house involves many steps and several essential documents. These include the deed of sale, a legal document that sets the legal bases for the transfer of ownership. It is important to understand what this document entails to ensure a transparent transaction.


Deed of sale definition
Information contained in the deed of sale of a house
The role of the notary
Real estate transaction costs
Practical advice


What is the deed of sale?

The deed of sale formalizes the real estate transaction. It is a legal document that lists the conditions under which the seller agrees to transfer ownership rights to the buyer. The transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer is effective as soon as the deed of sale is signed.

The copy kept by the buyer represents a title deed, thus constituting proof of his ownership of the new property.

Information contained in the deed of sale of a house

The deed of sale sets out and formalizes the elements that were agreed upon at the time of the promise to purchase. Among other things, it includes the following information:

  • Identification of the seller and the buyer, and their address
  • Description of the immovable, including the cadastral lot number and address
  • Sale price, occupation date, payment terms, etc.
  • History of the seller’s ownership rights and encumbrances affecting the immovable (easements, mortgages, etc.)
  • Declarations by the seller regarding the condition of the property, compliance with applicable laws and regulations, etc.
  • Mention of land transfer tax (welcome tax) to be paid by the buyer to the municipality

The role of the notary

In Quebec, the use of a notary for the deed of sale of a property is mandatory. The notary plays a central role in drafting, authenticating and publishing the deed of sale. He is responsible for guaranteeing the legal validity of the transaction to avoid any future litigation.

Before presenting the deed of sale to his client, the notary has to carry out a great deal of research and verification. These verifications are undertaken to protect both the seller and the buyer. They include, namely, verification of the title deeds, certificates of location, payment of taxes, rights affecting the property (mortgages, easements, etc.) as well as the identity and capacity of the parties. If, following the signing of the offer to purchase, any changes need to be made, both parties must discuss and reach an agreement.

The notary has a duty of impartiality and cannot therefore take part in negotiations. However, he can explain to both parties the various legal issues surrounding their decisions. In order for the sale to be final, the deed must be signed by the seller, the buyer and the notary.

In order to facilitate the notary’s work, the seller and buyer must provide all the necessary documentation.

Once all details agreed upon and verified, the notary proceeds with the draw up of the deed of sale. The document is then submitted to the parties involved for approval and signature.

After signing, the notary publishes the deed of sale in the Quebec Land Register. This publication is public proof that the buyer is the new owner.

Real estate transaction costs

In a real estate transaction, the associated costs and notary fees are shared between the seller and the buyer. The total fees vary from case to case.

Costs for buyers

The buyer is generally responsible for most of the charges related to a real estate transaction. These charges include:

  • Costs and fees associated with property title examination, preparation and registration of the mortgage deed and deed of sale to the Land Register;
  • Preparation of reports to mortgage creditors;
  • Registration of the deed of sale and mortgage deed in the Land Register;
  • Registration of address notices;
  • Fees for consulting and copying of the indexes, plans and deed in the Land Register;
  • Fees for using an electronic platform to transmit the mortgage mandate;
  • Trust account management fees.

Costs for sellers

The seller’s costs may vary depending on a number of factors. The seller is responsible for the costs and fees associated with removing existing encumbrances and correcting irregularities in the title or occupancy, as required.

  • Registration of irregularities in the Land Register
  • Registration in the Land Register of the discharge or release of existing encumbrances, if any to be removed
  • Costs of obtaining a copy of the co-ownership declaration or divorce decree, which the seller must provide but does not in his possession
  • Costs of obtaining a copy of the municipal and school tax statements
  • Trust accounting fees
  • Fees for the mandatory transferor or transferee declaration form

Practical advice

A real estate transaction represents a substantial commitment. Throughout the process, clarity, transparency and expert advise are crucial. Inform and prepare yourself so that you are well equipped to success in this significant life stage.

Seek help with qualified professionals

  • Real Estate broker: A real Estate broker can greatly simplify the process by helping your every step of the way to ensure that your needs are met, that you have all necessary documentation on hand and that everything is in order for a hassle-free transaction.
  • Notary: This is usually the buyer’s choice. Working with a trusted notary specialized in real estate ensures a successful process for all parties.

Understanding each clause

Before signing the deed of sale, make sure that all clauses are clear and unambiguous. If necessary, ask your notary any questions you may have, or consult a lawyer specializes in real estate law.

The deed of sale, once drawn up with precision becomes the legal document guaranteeing a transparent and worry-free real estate transaction for all parties involved.

Being accompanied by qualified professionals is the best way to insure a clear, simple and dispute-free process. Contact your real estate broker today for comprehensive support every step of the way.