What should a real estate lawyer do for you?

Whether you’re buying, selling or refinancing a home, your real estate lawyer plays a crucial role. You’ll want to select an experienced lawyer who specializes in real estate to represent you in most likely the biggest financial transaction of your life. Although a lot of the work is done behind the scenes, your lawyer will look out for your legal rights and interests, and ensure the transaction closes.

Buying a Home

If you’re buying a home, you’ll want to select an experienced real estate lawyer, preferably before you even make an offer. From presenting the offer to closing the deal, your real estate lawyer will help you along every step of the way. Your lawyer will look out for your legal interests and make sure the documents are legally binding and accurate.

If you’re buying a home, here’s what your real estate lawyer will do:

  • Review the Agreement of Purchase and Sale and other legal documents before you sign.
  • Check to make sure there are no existing claims against the property. If there are claims, ensure they are cleared before you take title.
  • Arrange for title insurance to protect you from tile defects.
  • Ensure you have the valid title when the transaction closes.
  • Ensure property taxes are paid up-to-date.
  • Calculate and remit the land transfer tax due on closing.
  • Prepare the statement of adjustments for prepaid expenses by the seller, such as property taxes and utilities.
  • Draw up the mortgage documents (if necessary) and register the mortgage.
  • Close the transaction and ensure all legal and financial conditions are met.
  • Exchange legal documents, keys and cheques with the seller’s lawyer.

Selling a Home

If you’re selling your home, here’s what your real estate lawyer will do:

  • Review the Agreement of Purchase and Sale and other legal documents before you sign, and assist in the negotiation of its terms and conditions.
  • Prepare the deed to your house.
  • Deal and remedy title issues as they occur.
  • Close the transaction and ensure all legal and financial conditions have been met.
  • Exchange legal documents, keys and cheques with the buyer’s lawyer.

Refinancing a Home

Whether you’re refinancing to consolidate debt, obtain a lower mortgage rate or take out a home equity line of credit, here’s what your real estate lawyer will do:

  • Perform title searches to ensure there are no existing title defects.
  • Ensure you have the valid title when the transaction closes.
  • Confirm the amount of your new mortgage is sufficient to all outstanding debts, including the existing mortgage.
  • Draw up the mortgage documents (if necessary) and register the new mortgage.
  • Close the transaction and ensure all legal and financial conditions have been met.

Selecting a Real Estate Lawyer

Real estate lawyer fees vary on a number of different factors. Real estate lawyers typically base their fees on the complexity of the transaction, the time and effort required and any issues as they arise. You can expect legal fees to add up to $1,500 to your total closing costs, but it’s still a good idea to get at least three estimates from experienced real estate lawyers you can trust. If you don’t see a real estate lawyer in your city on our website, family, friends, coworkers and real estate agents are great sources of referral. It’s important to not simply select the real estate lawyer with the lowest fees; there are too many things that can go wrong. You’ll want an experienced real estate lawyer who will protect your legal rights and ensure closing goes smoothly.

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Gurcharan Garry Bhaura

Gurcharan Garry Bhaura

Broker of Record
CENTURY 21 President Realty Inc., Brokerage*
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