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Buying and Selling Property Abroad

December 10th, 2014

There are many reasons to buy or sell a property abroad. Perhaps you have fallen in love with a country and rather than going back year after year to a hotel, you want to put down some roots by buying your own home to live in for part of the year. Or maybe you have inherited a piece of property in your family’s homeland that you are unwilling or unable to maintain. Or you bought a time share that you never use any more. Whatever the reason for your foreign real estate transaction, working with Red Seal Notary can save you time and money.

Buying Property Abroad

The decision to buy property in another country is a big one. There are many things to consider, including extensive tax and legal implications and fluctuating values in currency. If you are a retiree hoping to live a life of leisure as a Snowbird, or a business traveller who spends enough time in another country to warrant a separate residence, a notary can save you extra, unnecessary trips to that foreign country during the transaction process.

Though the rules surrounding property ownership by non-residents will vary greatly from country to country, a few things are consistent. If you are signing the transaction papers yourself, this will have to be done before a notary. The documents may also require authentication and legalization for the country in which the transaction is occurring. Usually, all documents prepared in Canada for use abroad will need to be translated to the commonly used business language in the country where you are making the purchase. These translations will need to be sworn, and copies may need to be notarized to verify their authenticity. Some notary offices may find you a reputable independent translator that they work with on a regular basis.

Selling Property Abroad

Selling a property abroad can be just as onerous as buying one. In this instance, avoiding unnecessary trips for details like signing documents is going to be a big plus. First and foremost, the same rules regarding the translation of paperwork will usually apply. Again, a notary can help by notarizing translated documents, and in some cases by providing the necessary translation services. One of the easiest ways to save trips back and forth to the country in which you are selling a property is by finding someone trustworthy to assign your Power of Attorney. This will allow a local representative to act on your behalf and sign real estate documents in your absence.

Often, people are under the impression that assigning Power of Attorney requires the time, trouble and expense of visiting a lawyer’s office. In fact, an Authenticated and Legalized Power of Attorney is a relatively easy form to complete and many templates and forms are available online for free. Just be sure the template you find is for the country in question, and from a reputable source. If your transaction requires a lawyer or conveyancer in the other country, which is common that lawyer will usually be able to provide you with the relevant Power of Attorney, sometimes with both the local language and English or French translation on the same page. This is often much easier than having to sign all the forms yourself. To ensure the form is recognized in the other country, it must be translated and notarized, a service a notary can provide at considerable savings over a visit to a second lawyer’s office.

The process to buy or sell foreign property is somewhat more complicated than it is to buy or sell in Canada, but Red Seal Notary can help make it a little bit easier for you.

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