We are proud to have a truly incredible team of talented, passionate, and empathetic lawyers here at Litco Law. Every one of our lawyers has a wealth of valuable knowledge and is amazing at what they do, along with diverse backgrounds and interests! We recently sat down with Real Estate Lawyer, Bill Plettl, to learn a bit more about his background, predictions for the real estate market, most outrageous stories, and more.
Tell us about yourself! Why did you choose to specialize in real estate law?
“When I embarked on my own legal practice in 2006, I had the intention of setting up my own office, continuing with Personal Injury law and expanding to a more general practice, which would include Real Estate, Wills & Estates, and Family Law. At the time, the Alberta real estate market was really busy, and I was lucky enough to make some good connections with several real estate agents, who sent a lot of clients my way. I found that I really enjoyed handling real estate files because of the time I get to spend meeting with clients and answering their questions.
Fast forward to present day, I have returned to my roots at Litco Law (a story for another day). As Litco Law has gotten busy with real estate in the last few years, I have found that a greater percentage of my work is real estate. It’s an excellent fit for me because of the face-to-face client interaction and the fact that the files require a lot of attention to detail, which suits my detail-oriented personality.”
What is a typical day like for you?
“Lately, a typical day is very busy, with about a quarter of my time spent reviewing real estate files and Wills, and the remaining time is usually spent meeting with clients, on the phone with realtors, mortgage brokers, and anyone else who happens to call.”
How long have you been involved in real estate law?
“I have been handling real estate as a major part of my practice since March of 2006, so just over 16 years now. I would estimate that I’ve done about 6,500 real estate deals in that time, so I have seen pretty much every type of real estate situation. I have acted for individuals most of the time, either sellers or purchasers, but I’ve also worked with private lenders and a few large banks. Litco Law has greatly expanded our virtual signing process as a result of the pandemic, so we can provide our services to clients literally anywhere in the world for real estate transactions that involve property located in Alberta.”
What advice do you have for potential real estate clients? Is there anything they should prepare ahead of meeting with you?
For those selling a home:
“Make sure you have an up-to-date Real Property Report before your property is sold and that your residency status for Income Tax purposes is sorted out long before you sell.
If you are not a resident of Canada for tax purposes, then a large portion of your sale price must be held until the Canada Revenue Agency provides a clearance certificate to allow us to release the funds to you. We’ve had a couple deals lately where sellers were not aware of these requirements, and we’ve had to hold back a significant portion of the sale proceeds while we wait for the CRA to provide us with authorization to release funds. If a seller knows about this requirement and contacts me (or an accountant) when they are initially thinking about selling their property, these delays can be avoided.”
For those buying a home:
“Be aware that you need to meet with us either virtually or in person to sign documents and provide the balance of your down payment at least three to five days before the possession date.”
Any predictions for the real estate market this year?
“I expect that the real estate market in Alberta will continue to be busy this summer. I suspect that it will calm down considerably once the latest increase in interest rates works its way through the system, but that will take a few months.”
Any outrageous stories about real estate law that you would like to share?
“I suppose the most outrageous stories about real estate files are the speed with which we complete most of them these days. We routinely receive purchase contracts and mortgage instructions within less than five days of the possession date. Our preferred time frame is at least two weeks before the possession date, but we’ve adapted to a new lightning-fast preparation process and turnaround time.
In April of this year, we had a deal where we received mortgage instructions from the bank the day before possession, and one of the purchasers was working out of town. We had a virtual signing meeting the following day with that client, at the same time as an in-person meeting with the client’s spouse. When the client initially learned of the delay in receiving the mortgage instructions, she was on the verge of tears. Luckily, we received the mortgage funds sooner than anticipated and were able to complete the deal on time. The client was incredibly grateful and nearly in tears again, but this time it was because she was so happy.
This type of situation is happening more often simply because every aspect of the real estate business is extremely busy these days. Banks, mortgage brokers, realtors, and of course, Real Estate lawyers and their assistants are all experiencing unprecedented volume in the number of transactions. Litco Law has done an excellent job of putting together a great team of assistants, and our clients are benefiting from that. Our business referral network reflects that as well because we have more and more realtors who want to send us their files. We also recently added a banking institution as a regular client for the preparation and provision of mortgages.”
What do you like to do for fun/outside of work?
“If I am not working, then I’m probably golfing if the weather permits or hanging out with my wife and kids. During the winter months, I like to get away for a couple of ski trips each year.”
We’re grateful to Bill for taking the time to answer our questions and share a bit about his background! We hope you enjoyed getting to meet one of our Real Estate lawyers here at Litco Law! Have a question about Real Estate law? Give us a call or fill out our contact form online, and we’ll reach out to you!
Are you thinking of buying, selling, or refinancing your home this year? You’ll need a real estate lawyer to seal the deal. At Litco Law, we know that this is often a very busy time in your life. We’re here to reduce your stress, not add to it. We’ll take care of the legal work and paperwork, so you can focus on other things like packing or choosing furniture.