Mortgage Refining Through Your BC Notary

Created: 13/06/12

When refinancing a mortgage on an existing property, most people go to their bank to get approved for the additional funds.

The bank often states the borrower can make use of the bank’s lawyer to do the legal work and that it will cost a little bit less than sending the work to an outside legal professional such as a BC Notary.

My experience shows me that a Notary’s fees to work with the borrower are very similar to the fees a bank would charge.

The borrower—to protect his or her interests—will benefit from some specific information about the refinancing process. There is more to a refinance than simply borrowing more money from a financial institution or switching the mortgage to another source.

In the work the bank’s lawyer does for the transaction, only the bank’s interests are protected. The borrower must sign a waiver that he or she is waiving legal advice. During the signing appointment, the borrower is not permitted to pose any legal questions to the lawyer witnessing the signing of the documents and the lawyer is not permitted to answer such questions. That can be very frustrating for the borrower who may be asking very valid questions about the ramifications of signing the refinancing documents.

A Notary Public representing the borrower will take care of many steps and searches that the work of bank’s lawyer does not cover. Why? The Notary is representing the borrower.

  • The Notary looks at the title for any defects or errors that may negatively affect the borrower, not just the lender.
  • The Notary tells the borrower about those issues and, if asked to do so, can manage them.
  • The Notary does tax searches on the property.
  • The Notary does strata searches, if applicable.
  • The Notary double-checks that the proper home insurance coverage is in place.
  • The Notary double-checks the legal mortgage being registered to ensure that the bank’s figures are correct and that there are no mistakes that could negatively impact the borrower.

For the vast majority of Canadians, their home is their largest and most important financial asset. A homeowner should take the utmost care and pay close attention during transactions that affect that asset. By hiring a BC Notary Public to look after his or her interests in such transactions, the borrower ensures that a highly trained professional is overseeing the process.

Originally published in The Scrivener, Volume 22, Number 3, Fall 2013
By The Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia