A First-Time Home-Buyer Story

Bob and Robin had been married six years when they decided to buy a home.  Their daughter Zoe was two years old and both were employed as software engineers in Vancouver. Some anxiety about the home purchase did arise, but their lawyer Kelvin Scheuer helped to sort it out.  Here’s how…

Down payment in the bank

Bob’s employer was opening an office in Victoria where they wanted to raise their daughter.  They had saved enough to make a down payment, and found a lovely little apartment near where Robin had grown up.  Their first foray into real estate, the accepted offer was for $400,000 –barely in their price range!

Aiming for a tax exemption

Though they had saved for the down payment, there was no extra money.  They continued to live frugally.  Even so, they were counting on an exemption from the $6,000 due for BC Property Transfer Tax.  Then Robin researched the exemption on-line, and discovered (in the small print) that, to qualify, the buyer must never have owned a residence anywhere in the world.  Robin was so upset:  Bob and his colleague had owned a tiny apartment together in Hong Kong where he had lived for a short time several years ago for his work!

Time to panic?

Kelvin stepped in to ensure that Bob and Robin could receive the tax exemption despite Bob’s previous home ownership.  He noted that Robin, a Canadian citizen who had been living continuously in B.C. for well over a year, had not owned a residence before, and explained that the exemption could still be claimed as long as Robin was the sole purchaser.  The couple were both fine with this, as they had shared all their assets since they married.  The seller of their condo was agreeable to having Bob’s name removed from the offer, and Bob and Robin’s bank consented as long as Bob acted as guarantor of the mortgage.

The next generation

A few months after the sale had closed and they moved in, Bob and Zoe surprised Kelvin with a visit one day.  Zoe was excited to show him their new dog, and she talked about taking the dog for walks in the park where Robin had played as a child.  He couldn’t be more pleased!

Note: This story is fictional, it is not the story of any Beacon Law Centre clients.  But Kelvin is real, and he really does like dogs.  We have a dog-friendly office!


I just wanted to extend my thanks for your absolutely first class service. When we were purchasing our home, as you know, we had many obstacles to overcome and actually thought in the last two days that our deal might not go through. It was a very stressful time in our lives and I want you to know that we’ll always appreciate your calm, caring, professional manner and how you made us feel at ease and that it would all work out because we had you representing us.

You and the rest of your team are awesome, and this is why I will continue to refer you to anyone I know who needs legal representation. As a realtor being able to refer my clients to someone who I know without a doubt will provide them with the best legal advice and service adds to my confidence in terms of the overall service I am providing.

You have, in essence become a key element of my business team and I look forward to building on what is already a successful business relationship.”


Over the past year Lianne Macdonald has provided excellent legal advice to my real estate clients. I am always impressed with the quality of her services, as well as the care shown by Lianne and her staff. Lianne is always available if I have any questions or concerns. Her sound advice and legal counsel has greatly helped me in difficult and unusual situations. Lianne Macdonald is a proactive lawyer, an honest and caring person and a trusted friend. Without hesitation, I would recommend Lianne’s services to others, and will continue to use her service where they pertain.


Lianne, thank you so much for your excellent work on our conveyance. Your extra work helped save us thousands of dollars.

Dear Mr. Elgersma, I want to thank you and your team for all your help during my recent sale in Victoria. My lawyer here in Ontario was very impressed by your fee and said it was a very good deal in his experience. Thank you very much.


I recently had the experience of selling my condo. As I am not in the habit of frequently buying and selling my home I find the whole process a bit unnerving. To add to my unfamiliarity with home transactions, I was due to be out of the country on the completion date of my sale. Needless to say this was somewhat worrisome to me.

I hired Del to handle the legal transaction of my sale. What a great decision this turned out to be. Del and I got together a week prior to my trip and completed the necessary paperwork. There are a lot of papers to sign when selling a home and Del took the time to explain each document to me and answered all the questions I had. He then assured me that he had everything he needed in order to handle the transaction in my absence.

Del had explained everything so clearly to me and made me feel so at ease about the process that I felt completely comfortable leaving my legal interests in his hands while I was off vacationing. This made quite an impression on me as I have never felt comfortable leaving my fate in the hands of others, especially the likes of lawyers!

Previously I would have worried about everything going smoothly on the actual day of my home sale but to my delight and surprise on the completion date of this sale I laid in my hammock and drank champagne in the sunshine celebrating with complete confidence that the transaction would be handled just fine. I returned home only to have my suspicions confirmed . . .yes, in my absence, money had been quietly deposited to my account!

Thank you Del for allowing me to let go of the stress and worry around this large, important and infrequent type of event in my life.