With our extensive knowledge of the real estate industry this page will provide useful information for foreign investors who are purchasing and selling residential real estate in the Greater Ottawa area.

Ontario real estate law allows non-residents of Canada to buy and sell property. However there are certain considerations that a foreign investor should be made aware of.

Legal fees and disbursements may vary dependent on the circumstances of your transaction. Please contact our office for a quote.

Purchase Transaction

  1. Any foreign investor who is not a Canadian Citizen and/or Permanent Resident of Canada who is purchasing a residential home must pay an additional 20% tax known as the Non-Resident Speculation Tax.. This amount will be based on the purchase price of the home. This tax applies to ALL of Ontario properties.  Please note: If within 4 years of closing the purchase transaction you become a Canada Citizen and/or Permanent Resident, you can apply to Canada Customs Revenue Agency for a refund of the 20% tax paid if one satisfies certain requirements.
  2. Getting a mortgage: It is important to have your agreement conditional on financing to ensure you qualify here in Canada for a mortgage. If a purchaser does not work in Canada and does not have established Canadian income, most mortgage lenders require a higher cash downpayment (on average 35% of purchase price). All lenders need to confirm identity of their clients. You should ensure whether or not your financial institution chosen will accept foreign identification if not, you will need to find another lender who will do so. If one cannot be found then you may have no choice but pay cash for the transaction
  3. Power of Attorney: Most lenders rarely accept Power of Attorney. It is very important that when you begin the process of obtaining any type of financing that you notify your lender of your intention to use a Power of Attorney and their permission to do so, if your request is denied than we would need to make the necessary arrangements to have the documentation sent to you and they will need to be witnessed and notarized by a solicitor in your jurisdiction. In these cases, you should make the required arrangements as early as possible so that your lender and lawyers can coordinate to get the documents signed and approved in time for your closing date.
  4. Fire Insurance: Financial institutions will not allow mortgage funds to be released unless the purchaser’s lawyer receives a binder for fire insurance (from an Ontario Insurance broker) prior to closing. If a non-resident owns no other Ontario property, such insurance will be more difficult to acquire and before committing to buying a property in Ontario, It is highly recommended that you insert a conditional clause for obtaining home insurance to your agreement of purchase and sale that way you can get written confirmation by an Ontario insurance broker that fire insurance can and will be provided for any intended purchase
  5. Final Appointment & Closing Funds: We usually contact you three (3) to four (4) business days before the closing date to arrange for an appointment to review your file and sign your final documents. This will be the only time we contact you unless any issues arise with your file and/or we require additional information. The final appointment will be held one (1) or two (2) days before your closing day. At this time, we will require that you bring a certified cheque or bank draft payable to “Jacques Robert In Trust” an amount which we will advise prior to the final appointment. The amount payable will cover the following: Land Transfer Tax and registrations of your deed and mortgage(s); balance due to close; our legal fees and disbursements; financial institution’s wire free (if applicable). If you are unable to be here for closing and have arranged for signatures either by way of Power of Attorney or by notarization in the jurisdiction you currently reside in, you will need to take the necessary steps to have the required monies wired to a local Canadian financial institution whereas a designated bank representative can issue a certified cheque and/or bank draft payable to Jacques Robert In trust.
  6. Closing Day and Pick up Keys: On the day of closing, we will have possession of the keys on or before 5:00 pm. The actual time depends on the following factors:
  • -the time the seller’s lawyer is prepared to close;
  • -the time the mortgage funds arrive at our office (some banks wire the funds only after 12:00 noon);
  • -high volume of closings on-line (mid-month and month-end are particularly busy); and,
  • traffic for couriers delivering funds, keys, etc. to and from the other lawyer’s office involved.

We have EIGHT convenient locations in Ottawa where you can pick-up your keys:

  • Orleans @2788 St. Joseph Blvd., Orleans, ON, K1C 1G5
  • Downtown Ottawa @ The Collaboration Centre, 150 Elgin Street, 10th Floor, Ottawa, ON, K2P 1L4
  • Kanata @ The Corporate Centre, 1000 Innovation Drive, Suite 500, Kanata, ON, K2K 3E7
  • Barrhaven @ 104-2 500 Claridge Drive, Nepean, ON, K2J 3G5
  • St. Laurent @ The Corporate Centre, 800-1730 St. Laurent Blvd., Ottawa, ON, K1C 3Y7
  • Hunt Club @ Capital Corporate Centre, 9 Antares Drive, Ottawa, ON K2E 7V5
  • Bell’s Corner @ The Corporate Centre, Queensway Centre, 200-15 Fitzgerald Road, Ottawa, ON K2H 9G1
  • Rockland @ 928 Laporte Street, Suite 135 Rockland, ON K4K 1M7

Alternative arrangements can be made at an additional cost.

If you are unable to pick-up your keys on closing you can designate a third party to obtain these on your behalf as long as you provide us their full info, upon collection of keys they will need  to provide the appropriate photo identification.




Sale Transaction

When a non resident of Canada sells their home and is planning to leave or has already left the country, a Compliance Certificate from Canada Customs Revenue Agency (also known as Revenue Canada) is required in order to confirm that no monies is owed to the Canadian government prior to departure.  The non resident of Canada will need to apply directly to CCRA (Revenue Canada) This can be a lengthy process, approx. 4 to 6 weeks.  If the Compliance Certificate is not readily available at the time of your sale, than your real estate lawyer is required to HOLDBACK 25% of the sale price (ie. $400,000.00 x 25% = $100,000.00) until the Certificate is received.  It is best to consult with a tax accountant regarding the application process.  For your convenience the link for Compliance Certificate application is below.