It is typical to use a lawyer for real estate closings and all the related work that is involved. While the amount of fee charged is one criterion to determine which lawyer to work with, what should you do when you get relatively the same fee or similar fee quoted to you by multiple lawyers? An informed consumer will often ask the following questions:
- What sort of experience does the lawyer have? Make sure that the lawyer has been dealing in real estate closings and that is his or her primary business.
- Whether the lawyer offers “the personal touch.” Will you as the Buyer or Seller, actually meet the lawyer in person or will you be left to deal with assistants?
- Is the office staff experienced and competent? Sometimes lawyers will hire law students and expect them to know the intricacies of real estate transactions. Obviously, you don't want to have someone practice on the sale and purchase of your single biggest asset.
- What sort of accommodations can the lawyer's office offer? Let's say you have someone with limited mobility on title. Will the lawyer be able to assign a representative who can visit your house as opposed to you struggling to bring your family member to his or her office?
- Will the transaction be processed within the office or will the work be outsourced to a third party?
- Does the lawyer have litigation experience or have someone that he or she can consult if there is a problem with a transaction? The lawyer’s ability to stick-handle the players if the transaction starts to go sideways is very important.
Whatever the fee, it’s always a good idea to make sure that the lawyer will be accessible throughout the process and especially on closing. Make sure you check for all of these and more. And if a lawyer gets uneasy answering these questions or makes it seem that you are taking up their precious time, then that in itself tells you something, doesn't it?
If you find yourself stuck in an unpleasant situation with a lawyer, then you have the option to reach out to The Law Society of Upper Canada. The Law Society’s authority to license and regulate lawyers and paralegals in the public interest is granted by the Ontario government through the Law Society Act and regulations made under the act. Here you can find the rules and legislations governing the lawyers.
Filing a Complaint against a lawyer: If you wish to file a complaint against a lawyer, then The Law Society of Upper Canada provides Complaint Services. There are various methods to reach the complaints department or you can simply download the complaint form to file a formal complaint.
Formally educated as an Architect, Jagdeep Singh is Toronto REALTOR™ consulting on both resale real estate and new developments. Powerful Local Focus on Real Estate with a Global Perspective™. This post is for information purposes only. Though effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the contents, the reader is advised to verify the information independently. This post may contain contain information that is privileged, confidential and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. The reader is not allowed to reproduce it in any medium without the author’s prior written permission. Jagdeep Singh is a broker with Century 21 Heritage Group Ltd., brokerage (416) 798-7133 which is independently owned and operated. This post is not intended to solicit parties currently under contract.