Lawyers, Insurance During Sales, Installing a Pool
Two young kids playing in a pool


Dear David,
We recently purchased a new build and did not have a lawyer look through the agreement due to time constraints. What is the implication of signing without a lawyer’s opinion?

– Concerned

Dear Concerned,

In the frenzy that sometimes accompanies a new build in a booming market, buyers can feel pressured to sign a purchase agreement in a hurry. If you signed an agreement with the builder and did not consult your lawyer, I urge you follow up by seeking legal advice now.

To give you a little perspective, a Realtor’s purchase agreement is about six pages long, while a builder’s contract could be 40 to 60 pages long. As you might expect, they tend to be weighed heavily in the builder’s favour. You need to review and fully understand the contract for your new build, including closing dates that may change and fees or other expenses that might not be capped.

Do I have to have insurance on my house when I’m selling it? – Moving On

Dear Moving,

Insurance is always a good idea and is required if you carry a mortgage. It could be a lifesaver if something catastrophic happens while you are waiting for the sale to close. This was the case for my wife and I when a property we purchased had a frozen pipe burst before the closing date. The water damage was significant, and it was up to the seller to restore the home to the condition it was in when we signed the purchase agreement.

The standard insurance clause in a purchase agreement states that the seller is responsible for the property until closing and must maintain any insurance policies until the transaction is complete. If the property suffers substantial damage prior to closing, the buyer can cancel the purchase agreement, or can close and get the proceeds of any insurance.

We’re thinking of installing a pool in our backyard this summer. Any advice before we get started? – Weekend Warrior

A pool can be a great addition to your property, but before you get started, be sure to investigate your city’s pool-building guidelines. In the City of Kitchener for example, any in-ground or above-ground pool that holds over 3 feet of water (which is pretty much all of them) requires a permit and must also comply with fencing regulations.

I would recommend that you start with a phone call. Check with your city to clarify what is needed before you start building your pool or the surrounding fence. Work within these guidelines, and remember that a by-law officer will need to inspect your pool after building, but before filling.