What is Conveyancing?

BC Notaries play a vital role in the fabric of the BC homeownership industry.

As a member of the legal support staff for one of the busiest Notary firms in BC for 20 years, I learned the process of conveyancing from the best.

What is a conveyance? It’s just a fancy word for the many steps it takes:

  • to convert your house to cash when you sell, and
  • to ensure you become the legal owner of your house when you buy.

Most often there are the added steps of getting a mortgage or paying out a mortgage along the way.

BC Notaries carry out more conveyances than any other legal group in our province.

I have always loved the way that putting a conveyance together well is like fitting together the pieces of a puzzle. The pieces do not go together exactly the same every time; that’s the challenge. It requires a lot of organization, skill, legal knowledge, and the consistent application of practices honed over many years in the business.

Becoming a BC Notary has allowed me to bring the skills I learned through the years full circle, by learning the legal underpinnings of this complex procedure.

When training new staff, I often liken doing a conveyance to a tennis match. The buyer’s Notary begins the process by creating the transfer and supporting documents that are forwarded to the seller’s Notary for signing.

The documents are then returned to the buyer’s Notary for registration, then funds exchange hands. The exchange of documents and money is done using legal undertakings that ensure the buyer receives good and marketable title, clear of the seller’s mortgage, and the seller receives the sale proceeds. Without those legal undertakings, the process would not be possible.

It requires much cooperation among all the involved parties, including the buyer and seller. Buyers must ensure that:

  • all conditions of mortgage approval have been provided to their banker/mortgage broker,
  • homeowners insurance has been arranged, and
  • the down payment and closing costs are ready to be paid into trust with their BC Notary

Sellers must ensure they are in a position to clear the title of any registered mortgages and other financial charges.

Along the way, the vital participation of many players is required. The REALTOR®, property inspector, appraiser, mortgage broker, banker, insurance agent, and builder are all working together to bring about a common goal. It is surprisingly involved. It has always amazed me, given the potential for a bad outcome if even one step is fumbled, how thousands of conveyances every year are smoothly and successfully completed on time.

Of course BC Notaries’ training is very important, but effective tools are essential, as well. ProSuite, a software program developed by BC Notaries, helps make the conveyance process smoother and more accurate. It is a program created specifically for our industry by those who know and best understand it.

I find my career as a BC Notary very fulfilling. It is a great feeling helping my clients to achieve their dream of homeownership or successfully converting their home to cash so they can move on to the next phase of their lives.

The role of a BC Notary in a conveyance is to draw the many threads together into a finished fabric.


Jackie Tait is a BC Notary who practices in Chilliwack, BC.


Posted in Real Estate