Real Estate Lawyers: What to Look for & Why It's Important
Hiring a real estate lawyer helps ensure that every step of the buying and selling process goes smoothly. Buying and selling real estate is complicated, and a lot can go wrong when transferring property ownership. For example, if you discover that a homeowner doesn't have the right to sell a property, you'll be glad you have a lawyer on your side.
Of course, some lawyers do their jobs better than others. We can help you choose a reliable, experienced attorney who fits your budget.
What Does a Real Estate Lawyer Do?
Whether you're buying a house, a condo or commercial property a lawyer can perform several services to ensure property ownership transfers property from one party to another. Common tasks include:
- Helping to calculate and overseeing the Land Transfer Tax process.
- Reviewing the property's history to determine whether the current owner actually owns the title and has the right to sell it.
- Searching for liens that would prevent the owner from selling the property.
- Reading contracts to make sure you understand every aspect of the deal including the Agreement of Purchase or Agreement of Sale
- Representing you when the property owner doesn't want to follow a signed contract.
- If you are purchasing a condo, your lawyer will review the Status Certificate.
If there is any litigation required after all aspects of the transaction are reviewed, the lawyer will help ensure that process is taken care of. The roles played by real estate attorneys matter so much that they are required to buy or sell property here in Canada.
Does the Lawyer Represent Your Interests?
This is an interesting question that many people do not think about until it's too late. The lawyers will always represent the interests of the people or companies that hire them. If the mortgage lender hires a lawyer, though, that attorney will work for the lender. That's often helpful, but it doesn't necessarily mean you will benefit. You'll be required to have an attorney as well.
How Much Does a Lawyer Cost?
There isn't a fixed price for hiring a real estate lawyer. The amount a lawyer charges depends on the complexity of your situation; a straightforward situation will cost less while a more complicated situation requiring more time will mean you are spending more money on legal services.
More often than not, the cost of hiring a lawyer gets added to your closing costs. Other closing costs typically include:
- Land Transfer Taxes
- Title insurance
- Appraisal fees
- Home inspections
- PMI (private mortgage insurance) and other forms of insurance
- Broker fees
- Application fees