The buying process involves a number of legalities. Sound legal representation is not merely a suggestion, it is a requirement. Your lawyer will protect your rights and make sure you actually get what you’re paying for.
What is important in a lawyer?
Ideally you will want to use a lawyer with substantial real estate experience. Lawyers who may be excellent in one field of law might not be as strong in real estate law. Most transactions close without a whiff of a problem; however, if there were to be some difficulties then an experienced and effective real estate lawyer is invaluable. Go with the lawyer that you feel has the right experience for your situation. I am pleased to provide you with a list of recommended real estate lawyers for your consideration. Interview one or more potential lawyers. You should feel comfortable with, and not intimidated by, your lawyer.
How do their fees work?
Some lawyers will propose a single ‘flat fee’ for their services and others may work on an hourly rate and will provide an estimate of the total hours required. In order to get a somewhat realistic estimate of costs you will need to know what services are included in their fee. Determine how and when they will let you know if costs are likely to exceed their estimated figure. We are comfortable in recommending that you request a flat fee quote from your lawyer. The Law Society of Ontario has established tariff rates for lawyers to close a real estate transaction in Ontario. Lawyers are not permitted to charge rates above tariff. However in Toronto’s competitive market they often will quote fees considerably below tariff. We appreciate that legal fees are a significant expense; however, it is very important not to hinge your choice of a lawyer on fees alone. The best lawyer for you may well not be the cheapest. Save money elsewhere. You need a good lawyer!
What about the extras?
Disbursements will be in addition to the quoted fee. Your “Closing Costs Work Booklet” details the costs of typical disbursements. Your lawyer will be able to provide you with exact disbursement expenses on your transaction
What specific functions does a lawyer perform?
Before the offer is signed:
- If requested, lawyers consult with purchasers to review the offer clauses. Will not recommend negotiation strategies but will ensure that purchaser understands legal aspects of the offer.
After the agreement is accepted:
- Detail exact closing costs. Most of these you will have already anticipated and estimated in your “Closing Costs Work Booklet”.
- Search title.
- Search taxes, utilities, building and zoning.
- Execution search.
- Mortgages and other financing arrangements.
- Verify insurance policy documentation.
- Calculate land transfer tax.
- Requisition letter to vendor (requesting resolution of any problems found in searches).
A few days before closing:
- Address any Provincial Sales Tax issues.
- Prepare mortgage documentation.
- Prepare statement of adjustments.
- Prepare documentation for land registry office.
- Accept closing funds from buyer.
- Review and have buyer sign necessary documentation.
On closing day:
- With mortgagee will exchange mortgage documentation for money.
- Meet with vendor’s lawyer at registry office.
- Complete final searches.
- Transfer funds.
- Register deed and mortgage in buyer’s name.
- Pay land transfer tax.
- Obtain keys from vendor’s lawyer.
- Send you a reporting letter certifying your title together with the deed, survey, and all other related documentation.
- Invoice you for services rendered.