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Real Estate

What types of real estate transactions can you do?

  • Purchase and Sale of condo, house, mobile home, and vacant land
  • Mortgages
  • Represent private lenders
  • Mortgage Refinance
  • Transfer to Executor or Survivor
  • Family Transfer
  • Ownership changes; joint tenant to tenants in common
  • Updates to name and addresses
  • Removing mortgage charge once paid in full
  • Contract drafting for private deals
  • Legal review of contracts and title of property

What are the steps involved in a real estate transaction?

Step 1 – Retain our office once you have an accepted offer on your property. To do this, call or email our office, we will set aside a file for you and await your contract.

Step 2 – once all subjects have been removed, have your realtor send full contract to our office and we will open a file for you and assign a conveyancer.

Step 3 – our office will contact you to gather all necessary information to get started on your file.

Step 4 – 1-3 days prior to completion (closing) date you will meet with the notary to sign related documents and provide identification (and bank draft for purchases).

Step 5 – The completion (closing) date is the day that the transfer of title is registered and monies are exchanged via Trust accounts. Our office will notify you that the deal is done and provide final reporting documents. 

Can I sign by Power of Attorney?

Yes, however we must have the original power of attorney documents prior to the completion date so we can register same in the land title office.

Do you offer virtual signing appointments?

No, we do not. All signing must be done in person with the notary.

How do I sign if I am out of town/province/country?

If you are unable to physically meet with us in our office, signing can be organized using a lawyer or notary in a different city or province to witness your signature, please let us know as soon as possible so arrangements can be made.

 How much time is needed for a real estate transaction?

Our office requests a minimum of 10 business days for purchases and mortgages, for sales the timeline is typically 5-10 business days, dependent on any charge(s) being removed from title or not.

 How do I deal with insurance. What do I need to know?

We recommend that you talk directly with an insurance agent, however if you are getting financing we strongly suggest that you also inquire with your Lender about their specific insurance requirements, such as “Guaranteed Replacement Cost” or Earthquake Coverage.

What do I need to know/do if my property is serviced by well or septic?

Certain mortgage lenders require inspection certificates of wells and septic so please inquire with your broker or banker.

 What is the difference between Joint Tenants and Tenants in Common?

As a Tenant in Common, you own your interest in the property outright: on your death, your interest in the property is yours to leave to a beneficiary. This is how you may own property with a business partner/sibling/friend.


As a Joint Tenant, there is a right of survivorship: on your death, your interest in the property immediately reverts to the surviving Joint Tenant(s). This is generally how we would register property in the case of a husband and wife. Please consult directly with the notary to ensure you obtain the right advice.

 What is Property Transfer Tax?

In British Columbia anytime you purchase or gain an interest in property that is registered in the Land Title Office, you must pay property transfer tax, unless you qualify for an exemption such as Newly Built Home or First Time Home Buyer. Your Notary will file the necessary Property Transfer Tax Return and remit payment of the Transfer Tax when they file the Title Transfer.

See the Government of BC website for more information about the Transfer Tax and exemptions available BY CLICKING HERE

Call Us Today: (250) 754-1363 


Resources for Realtors

First Time Home Buyers
If your client advises you that they are a first-time home buyer it would be prudent to refer them to the government website to ensure that they do in fact qualify for the first time home buyer exemption. The purchase price, size of the property and residency could disqualify them from this exemption. It is best that they know if they qualify for the tax exemption or not before they get to our office.

Well & Septic
Depending on what bank the Buyer’s are using, a well and septic certificate may be required before the bank will fund the mortgage. It is thus important to ensure that these certificates are satisfactorily obtained before removing the subjects if your client is getting a mortgage. If this contract is subject free and the bank requires these and it is later found that perhaps the water quality is not up to standards or the septic field is damaged the clients may find themselves in a very difficult situation as they may not be able to get their mortgage funds from the bank and would be unable to complete the deal causing them to be in breech of contract and perhaps sued for damages and lose their deposit. If the property is on a well we highly recommend that you get the full test done which can take upwards of a week to get back, that tests everything from Arsenic to Zinc and everything in between.

Reviewing the Title & Bylaw Contravention Notices:
Most contracts are subject to the Buyer reviewing and approving the title search to the property they are buying, if they do not, they should. This is a very important issue for a few reasons. The first is to ensure that the Buyer is aware of what they are buying and this includes the non financial encumbrances that are on title (as it is the Notary/ Lawyers’ job to ensure the financial charges are gone). Things such as right of ways, building schemes or covenants can all affect your client’s property and they should be obtained and reviewed by the client before removing this subject from the contract. Other important things to look for in the title search include BYLAW  CONTRAVENTION NOTICES. These do not show up like the other charges on a title but instead are placed in the legal notations of a title search and are very easy to miss. A Bylaw contravention notice is usually placed on title by the City of Nanaimo that shows that the city is aware of an unauthorized suite in the building and that they may be knocking on the door in the near future demanding that it is removed or up graded to comply with building codes. It however may be something else (Like notice of a previous Grow Op) but this is usually what it is for. The city in recent years has
been much tougher on known illegal suites and this could be a problem for the Buyer. The main problem is in obtaining mortgage proceeds. If a property has a Bylaw Contravention notice on title most banks will not fund the mortgage due to the fact that they have probably approved the mortgage on the fact that there is a mortgage helper suite. If the city orders this suite removed this would negatively affect the banks security and this is why they will not fund the mortgage. If subjects are removed and there is a Bylaw Contravention notice on title that has not been dealt with this could prevent the purchase from going through and your client could be sued for breech of contract at which point they will probably be going back to the realtor for remuneration. If a bylaw contravention notice is on the title search you must deal with this immediately by either getting it removed (which usually means the vendor must upgrade the property to conform with the city by laws) or getting your client to sign a form acknowledging that this is on the property to help protect yourself. You should also advise your client right away about what this means and what could happen if it is not dealt with and to make sure they advise their bank that this may be staying on the title to give them enough time to find a lender that is willing to accept this on the title.


GST on New Homes
GST = 5% GST Rebate =36%
No Rebate after the price exceeds $450,000.00 Partial rebate for prices between $350,000.00 and $450,000.00

GST is due when selling new properties or commercial properties or on properties that have been recently subdivided. Once the property has been lived in the property is no longer considered new and is instead considered used residential. If a company is selling raw land GST is always payable. It is the responsibility of the seller to determine if they are collecting GST and it should be noted in the contract if it is payable or not.

If the property is being moved into the Buyer may be eligible for a GST Rebate of 36% but only if the purchase price is less than $350,000.00
(this does not include the GST).

If the property is between $350,000.00 and $450,000.00 the Buyer may still be eligible for a rebate but this rebate is slowly tapered down until it reaches the price of $450,000.00 at which point the purchase price is too high for a rebate. To calculate the GST rebate Please see my link to the GST rebate calculation form:

There are a few ways to add GST to the contract.

-The purchase price can include NET GST
-The Purchase price can include GROSS GST
-The Purchase price can add GST

For example:

Let say a new house you are buying is worth $280,000.00. You can either write in the contract $280,000.00 + GST, $280,000.00 plus NET GST or you can show the price inclusive of GST or inclusive of NET GST.

So let’s look at how these 4 options play out;

Option 1 Price is Plus GST:
$280,000.00 plus 5% ($14,000.00) = $294,000.00 which is paid to the seller; But the buyer will still be eligible to obtain a rebate which in this case works out to 36% of the GST for a total of $5,040.00. So at the end of the day once the buyer pays for the house and gets their rebate back in the mail their end cost is $288,960.00.

Option 2 Price Plus NET GST with rebate assigned to the Seller:

$280,000.00 plus 5% GST (14,000.00) less 36% Rebate ($5,040.00) for a total of $288,960.00 which is paid to the seller. So in this Scenario the rebate has already been worked into the price. At the end of the day the buyer pays the same amount however in option 1 they have to wait for months to get their rebate of $5,040.00 back in the mail from the government and have to come up with that difference at closing, whereas option 2 they get credited for the rebate up front and do not have to wait for this rebate cheque.

Option 3 Price Includes GST:
If the Price is $280,000.00 including GST, then to find the actual consideration it is as simple as dividing the purchase price by 1.05 which gives you a consideration of $266,666.66 Plus $13,333.34 for a total price of $280,000.00.the buyer is still eligible for a rebate which in this situation works out to $4,800.00 (36% of the GST). The buyer would then file the rebate form with the GST department and wait for a rebate a few months later in the mail. So at the end of the day once they receive their rebate the buyers cost works out to a grand total of $275,200.00.

Option 4 Price includes NET GST with rebate assigned to the Seller:
If the price is $280,000.00 inclusive of NET GST with the rebate assigned to the seller, then the breakdown is much different. We must factor into the price the rebate already. In this situation the consideration is actually $271,317.83 (as opposed to the option 3 consideration of $266,666.66) plus GST of $13,565.89 LESS the rebate of $4,883.72 which brings us back to the price of $280,000.00. In this scenario the seller assigns the rebate to the buyer so there is no rebate cheque coming back in the mail like the previous example, this rebate has already been factored into the contract.

So just by putting the words including NET GST as opposed to including just GST can make a $4,800.00 difference to the buyer’s bottom line. As option 3 works out to a cost of $275,200.00 after the rebate and option 4 ends up to a total of $280,000.00. If you have questions about GST please feel free to contact our office.

Builder Lien Hold Backs
Builders Lien Holdbacks should be in place on every New Construction file where the occupancy Permit has not been issued for more than 55 days. This hold back needs to be for 10% of the value of the improvements. If you do not include a builder’s lien hold back provision worked into the contract, the buyer’s Notary / Lawyer cannot arbitrarily hold back this amount unless it is agreed to in the contract. Most lenders
require this for their mortgage approvals and without a builders lien hold back you are placing your client at a risk of future liens being placed against their property. If however this is a strata property, then we can hold back 7% of the purchase Price as per the Strata properties Act, even if it is not in the contract. There is no need for a builders Lien Hold Back if the occupancy permit has been issued for longer than 55

Preparing Contracts of Purchase and Sale for Foreclosure Properties
This information is given to assist realtors in preparing the Contract of Purchase and Sale when selling a property that is in foreclosure. By following these simple procedures it will save your clients time and money.

For Foreclosures:
1. Please ensure that the Buyer’s full legal names are used on the Contract. In non foreclosure contracts the full legal name is not necessary; however, for foreclosure properties it is extremely important.

2. Please also determine if the property is to be purchased by more than one person, and if so that second, and possibly sometimes third, person’s full legal names should also show on the initial offer.

Why these points are important is because when the offer is submitted into Court, and if it is accepted, the lawyer for the Foreclosing party will prepare the Court Order in the name as it shows exactly on the Contract of Purchase and Sale, and will NOT make any changes to that, by adding middle names or another person, unless a new Court Application is made, which not only delays the sale, but will cost the Buyer
extra legal costs of approx. $1,000.00 to do so.

Also, if the Buyer’s full legal name (which means using all middle names) is not used on the contract, then their identification will not match when it comes time to drawing and signing their mortgage documents, and the Buyers now have an additional problem. So, to be absolutely sure that you are using the correct name(s), please ask to see the buyer’s driver’s licence or passport, and take their name(s) from that
document. If the buyer's are obtaining financing, then they may not be able to qualify for the mortgage on their own, and the Lender's may require that a second person (usually a spouse or parent) be a joint borrower in order to qualify for financing. If this is required, then that joint Borrower must also be registered on title. If the contract has been drawn in one person's name, then the buyer’s will have to pay the additional approx. $1,000.00 of legal costs to get an amended Court Order to add the second name, and may have to request an extension of the completion date as well, in order to allow sufficient time for that to be done. It would be prudent to have the buyer's pre-qualified for a mortgage before putting in the offer to determine if the property should be in more than one name.

We would also suggest that the buyer's occupations and whether they are Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common (and as to what percent) be shown on the Contract of Purchase and Sale as well.

Call Us Today: (250) 754-1363 


Our Team

Steele Althouse

Steele Althouse - Notary Public


Steele Althouse became a Notary Public in 2009 and was awarded for the highest marks on the real estate exam held by the BC Notary Society. He has worked at Althouse Notary since 2002 when he started working with his mother Sharon Althouse who started the firm in 1993. Sharon has since retired and has handed the office over to her son who is following in her footsteps as the preferred Notary in Nanaimo. Steele is married to his wife Tara and together they have 3 young children to keep them both busy when not working. 

Alana Haliliku

Alana Haliliku - Notary Public


Alana Halaliku completed her Master of Arts in Applied Legal Studies (MAALS) at Simon Fraser University in 2021 and was commissioned as a Notary Public by the Supreme Court of Canada in June 2022. Before this, Alana spent 13 years as a banker with Coastal Community Credit Union (CCCU), with the majority of her career working in the Commercial Division specializing in Real Estate and Development Financing. She was responsible for developing and maintaining commercial business relationships and took pride in helping members achieve financial goals. During her time at CCCU, Alana completed several lending and banking courses including a Business Lending Designation from Dalhousie University and the Credit Union Institute of Canada as well as completed her Bachelor of Business Administration at Vancouver Island University.
Alana enjoys being involved with the community and has previously sat on the board of the Young Professionals of Nanaimo and the Vancouver Island Canadian Home Builder’s Association. As a Notary Public, Alana delivers quality work to her clients while providing a practical approach to legal processes. 

Sharon Althouse

Retired Notary Public

Sharon started the firm of Sharon Althouse Notary Corporation back in 1993 and has only recently retired, well sort of. She still checks
in on the office every so often and continues to do the books and accounting for the office.

Carie Geddes - Conveyancer

Jessica Pittman - Conveyancer

Narissa Leggett - Conveyancer

Sarah Ketch - Conveyancer

Alexandra Larson - Conveyancer

Iryna Galunenko - Receptionist

Call Us Today: (250) 754-1363 


Our Reviews

Call Us Today: (250) 754-1363 




2133 Bowen Rd, Nanaimo, BC
V9S 1H8, Canada



9:00AM - 5:00PM (Closed on weekends and statutory holidays)