Do I really NEED a Real Estate Lawyer?

By Allison McMurter of McMurter & Associates posted on Wednesday, October 28, 2015.

Diane and Rick are first-time homebuyers, and are excited to finally be buying a home of their own. Their real estate agent referred them to a local real estate lawyer, but the couple wonders if they really need a lawyer to help with what feels like a simple transaction. Diane and Rick would really much rather spend money on new furniture, or upgrades to the house, rather than on legal bills. But do they have have a choice?

Lawyers are the Law

After doing a bit of research, Diane and Rick quickly learned there is no way to close a real estate transaction in Ontario without the help of a lawyer. In order to buy a house, legal ownership to the house has to be changed from the name of the Seller to the name of the Buyer. Two lawyer are required to 'sign' this transfer (one for the Seller and one for the Buyer), and only lawyers licensed by the Provincial Bar Association can gain access to the Province's online system to transfer property. Mortgage lenders such as Financial Institutions and broker lenders also insist that the money for the mortgage is sent to a lawyer's trust account, and that a licensed lawyer sign the mortgage report that is sent to the Lender after the closing.

Lawyers provide peace of mind

There are many intricate components to any real estate deal, no matter how straight-forward it may appear. Your lawyer will ensure that their clients get exactly what they bargained for when they agreed to purchase the house. Lawyers will make sure the legal title to the house is free from obvious defects, and they will get them title insurance to cover any off-title issues.

Lawyers confirm that details such as the lot size and common expenses match what the Seller described in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. In the case of Diane and Rick, if they move into their new house and find the Seller has taken appliances that were supposed to leave, or caused damage to the property since the last time Diane and Rick visited it, their lawyer will correspond with the Seller's lawyer to help Diane and Rick resolve these issues.

Money well-spent

Once Diane and Rick understood more about the various services a licensed real estate lawyer provides during the course of a transaction, they felt much more comfortable paying the legal fees in spite of the fact that they didn't really have a choice.

At McMurter & Associates, we believe in full disclosure of all fees and disbursements, so you will always know what your fees will be. Our fees are clearly set out on our website at www.mcmurter.com, or you can call us toll-free at 1-800-756-7138.