The purchase of homes and land can be more complicated than people realize if not done properly. Real estate, also called real property, generally consists of the land and whatever is growing on it, affixed to it and built on it. In the eyes of the law, personal property is everything else, which, by the way includes mobile homes that are not affixed to the land.
I own my land so I can do what I want with it. The preceding statement is a fairly commonly held belief that is not true. When we buy real estate we buy rights to the use of the land but the real “owner” in Canada is the Crown – meaning the federal and provincial governments. This is why the government has fundamental rights such as expropriation, tax sales, and the right to determine land use through zoning and to establish regulation of construction on land through building codes.
The purchase of land in British Columbia involves the transfer of money from the buyer to the seller and the transfer of title to the land from the seller to the buyer. The title will contain identification information related to the land such as a unique nine digit Property Identification Number (PID) and a legal description. It will also contain ownership information that is expressed as an interest in the land that gives us rights to the land. For example, a Fee Simple (or Freehold) Interest in the land is the largest group of rights we can have over our land. This is called Registered Owner in Fee Simple on the title.
These land rights can be held by one person or two or more people as Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common. As well as stipulating the type of ownership interest in land, the title can have legal interests or encumbrancers on it as well such as mortgages, rights of way, easements, covenants, judgements, leases and builders liens. These common charges on a title can affect and restrict the way we use our land and some legal annotations can prevent transfer of the title. For these reasons, it is important to do a title search when considering the purchase of a home or land.
While we have rights to the land we buy, other rights such as the airspace above, surface water and subsurface rights are generally limited and regulated. Zoning regulations for the property also affects what we can do with the real estate we buy. There are also many other things that have the potential to affect our use of the land. When you are planning to make your next Comox Valley home purchase from those listed contact Brett Cairns of REMAX Ocean Pacific Realty to be your buyer’s agent so that you can have peace of mind when you buy.