Housing and Property

Home Purchases: Avoiding Delays With the Notary


There’s still lots to be done once the notary checks the offer to purchase and it’s signed by everyone. Your financial institution, real estate broker and notary will work hard to make sure you can sign the notarized mortgage and deed of sale and get the keys to the property on the date agreed. You can also be proactive in preventing delays.

Prepare for your meeting with the notary

Choose your notary

If you haven’t yet chosen a notary, you can use the tool “Find a Notary in Private Practice” on the website of the Chambre des notaires du Québec (notaries’ association).

Check your availability

Let your employer know that you might need some time off. You should plan for a first appointment with the notary to sign the mortgage and a second one a few days later to sign the deed of sale.

Make your expectations clear

Most notaries ask their clients to sign a contract for services before they begin doing any work. It sets out the notary’s fees, terms of payment and what everyone is expected to do. The contract for services can also state whether you prefer to sign the notarial deeds in person or electronically. Electronic signatures have been allowed since April 1, 2020.

Send the documents to the notary before the deadline

The notary needs several documents to do the work and finalize the sale. It’s important for the notary to receive most of these before your first meeting. If you send them late, this could delay when you take possession of the property. 

To reduce the chance of any delays, you can

  • ask the notary early on which documents will be needed, and
  • ask your financial institution, real estate broker and the seller to contact your notary as soon as possible.

Send the money for the purchase

Your notary must receive your down payment, and the amount your financial institution is lending you, before you meet to sign the deed of sale. Therefore, the notary will ask you and your financial institution to transfer these amounts.

After you have sent your down payment, the notary must respect the bank’s time delay before having you sign the deed of sale. This delay can be up to 10 days and is referred to as “clearing time.” The financial institution uses this time to make sure everything is in order with the deposit. For example, it might check that the date on the cheque is legible and that the amount in numbers matches the amount in words. Until this time limit expires, the financial institution has the right to withdraw the money deposited in an account without advising the account holder.

Your notary will tell you the simplest and quickest way to transfer the money.

Be patient

You must want to get your hands on the keys to your new home, but some delays can’t be avoided.

For example, your notary will need about two or three days after the signature of the mortgage and deed of sale to publish them in the land register. This publication is required, and anyone can consult the land register to read the deeds you’ve signed.

Once the deeds have been published, your notary will prepare the various cheques required to conclude the transaction, such as the amount owed to the seller, the broker’s commission and the surveyor’s fees. Afterwards, your notary can give you a copy of the deeds you’ve signed.