I just bought a house. What's my lawyer's role?
It's a common question. So we asked David Hurren, an experienced real estate lawyer in Niagara. What follows is a basic run-down of his response.
Once conditions in an offer to purchase are removed, David's law office makes it a practice to call the buyer to obtain biographical and contact information. The buyer is also asked for mortgage and insurance information if available.
At least 3 days prior to closing the buyer attends the law office. Here is a basic rundown of what is covered.
- Verification of the buyer's ID--a driver's license, passport or other acceptable ID;
- Review of any legal issues associated with the property;
- Review and sign all legal documents-deed, mortgage, authorization to register deed and mortgage, and a mortgage disclosure statement required by the mortgage company;
- Review statement of adjustments prepared by seller's lawyer. His law office always verifies taxes with the tax office and obtains the buyer's undertaking to readjust taxes if necessary.
- Discuss whether the buyer has agreed to pay for any fixtures or chattels not mentioned in the offer to purchase.
- Inform buyer of the money needed to close the purchase. The amount includes the downpayment, additional funds, if any, as noted in the statement of adjustments, and the legal fees and costs. The certified cheque for the total is delivered the day before or on the morning of closing.
The buyer is also informed that on closing, the lawyers for both parties exchange documents, keys and cheques and register the deed and mortgage. Closing usually takes place by mid afternoon though not at any specific hour.