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How a Kelowna, B.C. homeowner saved thousands with one email

When Sofia Jensen* bought a three-bedroom home in a sleepy neighborhood of Kelwona B.C, she thought she was about to settle in for peace and quiet. A few years later, the city home inspector came by, but she didn’t think anything of it. Then the order to tear out her basement came, and everything changed.

A code violation reoffender

Sofia’s home has two levels, both fully finished. The lower level had been renovated into an in-law suite before she bought it, complete with a wet bar, sink and bathroom, though she was only using the level as a TV room and office. What Sofia didn’t know was that not only had the previous owner made that renovation illegally, but the City of Kelowna had ordered the lower level torn out to the studs—after which the previous owner had simply put the illegal build back in.

The problem? There was no staircase connecting the upper and lower levels, which meant no secondary escape in the event of a fire. The city ordered her to add in a staircase to the existing build, which would tear up half the house. Facing not only the expense of the construction, but the massive disruption it would cause, Sofia knew immediately what her next move would be.

Is title insurance worth it?

Sofia has a residential title insurance policy with FCT. She emailed us, explained the situation, and our team found a less disruptive solution to complying with the city—simply removing the components that made the lower floor a live-in suite. Since it was a covered risk, we paid the whole contractor cost, issuing her a cheque for $5,775. Thanks to her thinking ahead, with an investment of a couple hundred dollars on a title insurance policy when she bought the house, Sofia saved herself over five thousand.

As a notary or lawyer, your clients look to you to guide them through the complex and intimidating process of buying a home. With so many factors, steps, unexpected closing costs and things to consider, your clients can easily miss the vital protection title insurance offers.

Issues like Sofia’s happen every day, from city compliance, to mistakes in property surveys, to outright fraud and identity theft. Home insurance only protects the building and its contents; there is only one way to protect an owner’s claim to the land—their title—and that is title insurance.

Keep your clients protected by always recommending a residential title insurance policy. Learn more about how every client can get more protection here.



* Name changed to protect the privacy of the insured


Insurance by FCT Insurance Company Ltd. Services by First Canadian Title Company Limited. The services company does not provide insurance products. This material is intended to provide general information only. For specific coverage and exclusions, refer to the applicable policy. Copies are available upon request. Some products/services may vary by province. Prices and products/services offered are subject to change without notice.


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