A brief history
The responsibilities and trust bestowed onto notaries dates back, some say, to the Old Kingdom of ancient Egypt. From this time, keeping official records, official proclamations, tax records and other documents passed through the hands of those who were called ''sesh'' or ''scribes''; however, it is during the Roman Empire that the true origins of the notary were born. Marcus Tullius Tiro, the adoptive son of the famed Roman philosopher, politician, and orator, Cicero, had developed a new form of note-taking called notae. Those who came to use this system were called notarius. Taking notes in the form of minutes, they later became part of government bodies as officials, governors, and secretaries to the emperors.

Fast forward to today, the notary's role and obligations haven't changed all that much as they witness, authenticate and guide us in our most important transactions and dealings central to our lives and economy: mortgage documents, power of attorney, real estate transactions, wills, adoption, marriage, divorce, and medical directives to name a few.

In this article, we will be focus on the real estate facet of their expertise and to do so I met with a young and dynamic notary, Me Ana Pac, with whom the Sperano Team has collaborated on many occasions.

Sebastiano: Explain to us why a notary is a vital part of the real estate transaction and what exactly is a notary's role.
Ana: Very often the clients are under the impression that they need to see a notary to simply sign a document. Most clients are not aware that if they buy with financing, they will have to see the notary for two separate appointments: first, to sign the deed that is a contract between them, as a debtor, and their financial institution, putting their immovable as collateral; second, to sign the deed of sale between them and the Vendor. In order to complete this process, other than preparing and publishing the documents at the land registry, the notary thoroughly verifies the agreement between the buyer and the vendor (promise to purchase), the conditions laid out by the bank in order to complete the financing, the fact the Vendor has a valid title to the property, that the immovable is clear of all debts including debts for municipal and school taxes and Syndicates in the case of condo units, that all constructions satisfy municipal regulations, and among others, quite importantly, that the Buyer has a clear title to the property before remitting the proceeds of the sale to the Vendor. Therefore, our obligation is to advise, represent and protect all parties from possible risks in an impartial manner, but also, to guide you though this whole process (very important for new homebuyers).

Sebastiano: That's fascinating! Tell us more about why it is important to have a land certificate, the certificate of location (certificat de localisation).
Ana: The certificate of location is indeed one of the most important documents in a real estate transaction. It is prepared by a land surveyor following a visit of the concerned property. In every real-estate transaction it is important to have an up-to-date certificate of location that represents the present state of the property. It will be thoroughly verified by the notary in order to ascertain whether the sold property and the constructions on it correspond to all kinds of possible (municipal and governmental) rules and regulations. Once again, the notary’s obligation is to make sure that you will be 100% informed about all the legal considerations with regards to the property that you are buying.

Sebastiano: How should a client choose their notary, and what should one look for?
Ana: All notaries in the province of Quebec are members of the Chamber of Notaries, which regulates and oversees the profession. Therefore, regardless of the notary that you will choose, he will have the same obligation towards you. The choice then becomes subjective. It is important to choose a notary that you trust, since his/her mandate will be to guide you, advise you and make sure that your best interest is protected. Here, a recommendation is usually helpful. As a matter of fact, prices vary quite considerably from one notary to another, so calling the notary’s office to inquire about their fees and availability could be a good idea too.

Over the span of my 12 years as a real estate broker, I've had the pleasure of working with many different notaries all over the province. They are often a voice of reason in what can sometimes be stressful situations. Their opinion and experience is invaluable.

For all inquiries please contact Ana Pac, Notary. The phone call is free and the right information is priceless!

Her offices are located in Centropolis Laval
She can help you in French, English, Romanian, Russian and Italian.
Tel. 438-320-1111