How to Use a Parcel Register to Better Understand Listings

If you work in the real-estate industry you probably recognize the words “title search”. Usually when you hear the words title search in Ontario, what the individual is referring to is a parcel register. A parcel register is a very important part of a title search that reveals very important information about a property’s title and history that is relevant to REALTORS® from both a due diligence perspective when formulating offers, and when educating clients about a listing.

In many cases, the first reaction to a title search is “that’s the lawyer’s job”. While searching registrations on title is a mandatory part of the transaction, the lawyer typically does not access the report until after your client has entered into an agreement to buy or sell the property. In fact, the REALTOR® will often be the only informed professional that clients will consult with prior to committing to the largest transactions of their lives. Let’s take a closer look at each of the ways that a REALTOR® can use a parcel register.

Due diligence – If you are representing a client who is listing a home, the parcel register will reveal mortgages currently registered against title and allow you to better gauge if your client has sufficient equity to cover your fees. What if the registered mortgage is not from a chartered bank, trust company, credit union or similar institution? Standard clauses can require private mortgages to be discharged prior to closing, which may not be possible for the seller. Ordering a parcel register can give you the information you need to modify the agreement of purchase and sale before both parties are contractually committed.

  • Liens on title: If you are representing a seller in the sale of their home and in the purchase of another you can identify if there are potential credit issues that may prevent them from qualifying for another mortgage.
  • Are there other people on title: What happens if your client doesn’t disclose to you that there is someone else on title? Before you can list a home you must ensure that you have an agreement signed with all homeowners.

The cost of the parcel register is just a small percent of your sales commission. Is it worth it? Ask yourself how much time and money you could potentially spend – performing research for your client, advertising your client’s property, gas expense, etc. – before learning what you discovered by consulting the parcel register could stop a potential sale from occurring.

Formulating offers – the parcel register can be very useful when determining how much negotiating power you have on a deal. Reviewing the purchase date, purchase price and registered mortgages can help you estimate how much equity there is in the home. If your client wants to offer less than the list price you can assess if doing so would have potential to be accepted.

Educating clients about a listing – a parcel register can reveal not just encumbrances but also easements and other restrictions. Knowledge is power and knowing this about a property you have listed or one that your client is considering purchasing allows you to prepare for anything that could come up or that will need to be explained or understood in further detail.

As you can see, incorporating a parcel register into your work flow can add great value to your bottom line and will allow you to not only save time and money but also make you shine with your clients because your clients will know that you are on the cutting edge and going above and beyond the call of duty to represent their best interests.

For more information about how to use/obtain a parcel register please visit www.geowarehouse.ca or call 866-237-5937.