You have finally decided to sell or purchase a property and you think that you know enough to act as your own real estate agent or notary.

Warning! It may be tempting to do everything yourself, especially since the World Wide Web is abundant with advice on the matter. It’s true that some have been able to close a transaction without any difficulties. However, we mustn’t omit to mention that others have met major problems with stress and associated inconveniences. If real estate professionals exist, there is surely a good reason for it…

As notaries, we have witnessed many problematic files that have ended with an aborted sale or judicial proceedings. Some of our clients have concluded promises to purchase or to sell and have found themselves owners of two homes because they were unable to sell their first one. Others have bought houses with defects because they waived their right to have a qualified building inspector look over the property.

Moreover, it is imperative that the buyer and seller verify the conformity of the constructions pertaining to the many building by-laws and norms. Zoning by-laws, building restrictions, wet zones, zones subject to landslides are more and more frequent. Without forgetting that to determine the admissibility of acquired rights of a derogatory building is not simple. We lost count of the void promises to purchase that are not filled in properly by the parties. The expression “The devil is in the details” just seems to make sense in these cases.




A simple omitted or neglected detail is sometimes sufficient to render a transaction bitter to both parties or even have it be aborted. The consequences can be disastrous. The seller or the buyer can literally find themselves homeless if the transaction does not close on time, deposits may never be reimbursed, construction problems can financially ruin you and affect your quality of life. On top of all that, judicial proceedings can be taken by either party and follow you for years, all the while siphoning your precious savings.


Despite the amplitude and complexity of real estate transactions, if you decide to go ahead and do everything yourself, you should at least consider consulting a professional in the field, a real estate agent or a notary before signing any documents. A simple verification of the promise to purchase by a professional can avoid many complications.


After all, for the majority of people, it may be the most important transaction of their lives.


PME Inter Notaires Gagné Isabelle Patry Laflamme & Associés

Notaires & conseillers juridiques - Notaries & legal counsel

188 Montcalm, Gatineau, QC J8Y 3B5


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