What is a Real Property Report and why do I need one when Selling or Purchasing a home?

A Real Property Report (RPR) or Survey as it is commonly referred to is a document prepared by an Alberta Land Surveyor that sets out the property boundaries and the location of improvements such as a house, garage, deck, fence, pool, retaining walls, etc.
Question. What is a real property report?

“The Seller will provide the Buyer with a current Real Property Report (often referred to as an RPR and also known as a Survey) showing the current improvements on the property according to the Alberta Land Surveyors’ Association Manual of Standard Practice, with evidencing of municipal compliance or non-conformance and confirming the Seller’s warranties about the land and buildings”….YES this clause is a standard in almost every residential real estate purchase and sale transaction in Alberta. SO, what does it mean?

Firstly, a Real Property Report (RPR) or Survey as it is commonly referred to is a document prepared by an Alberta Land Surveyor that sets out the property boundaries and the location of improvements such as a house, garage, deck, fence, pool, retaining walls, etc. The RPR also sets out utility right of ways (a registered easement that allows a municipality or utility company the right to access utility lines and services buried or erected on the right of way), easements, water drainage restrictions, etc.

Secondly, every municipality (city, town, hamlet, etc) has certain land use by-laws that govern what improvements can be built on a property and where those improvements are allowed to be built in relation to the property boundaries and neighboring lands. The RPR allows the municipality to determine if homes and improvements have been built in accordance with the by-laws. The RPR is submitted to the municipality for compliance review. The municipality will either stamp the RPR as compliant, will issue a letter of non-conformance (the property meets the requirements that existed at the time of development) or will issue a letter of non-compliance and the steps that need to be taken to comply the property.

Why is the RPR important to the Seller?

As the Seller has to warrant to the Buyer that the property complies with existing municipal land use bylaws and that buildings and improvements on the land do not encroachment upon utility right-of ways, easements or neighboring lands, an RPR is the Seller’s best evidence that this warranty can be safely given to the Buyer. SN Law Office can help you as a Seller obtain a report, update a report, review a report, obtain permits/encroachments agreements to comply the property and/or answer questions. Give us a call before you are in the sticky position of having to obtain a report on a rush basis (extra cost) because this step was missed before you listed your property for sale or entered into a sale contract before addressing the RPR.

Why is the RPR important to the Buyer?

Buying a property is a big investment! As a Buyer you want to know exactly what you are buying. The RPR sets out the size of your property and the size/location of all improvements so you know exactly what you are getting for your money spent. There’s comfort in knowing your property complies and that you will not be faced with issues into the future such as the municipality enforcing removal of your garden shed because it encroaches onto a utility right of way and costly permitting fees with the municipality to leave the shed as sited or a dispute with a neighbor for a fence that encroaches. Obtain the report and have it reviewed prior to removing your condition of sale so that you can rest assured that you are getting exactly what a Seller is warranting! SN Law Office can help you as a Buyer to review the report and ensure that any lender you may have to engage to purchase the property is satisfied with the report. Call us before you make any decisions regarding waiving your right to an RPR or if you have any questions or concerns about an RPR before you remove your conditions on a purchase transaction.

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