Real estate lawyers are the ones who work behind the scenes to make sure your real estate transaction goes as smoothly as possible.
A real estate lawyer protects their client’s rights as laid out in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. Your lawyer will ensure that all parties in the transaction have fulfilled their duties as outlined in the contract. They ensure the property taxes are up to date, ensure there aren’t any liens on the property, handle the funds to the appropriate parties, and land transfer tax… just to name a few things!
When do you need to contact a real estate lawyer in a real estate transaction?
The reality is that most people won’t connect with a lawyer until after the Agreement of Purchase and Sale is signed. You can contact a lawyer prior to the document being signed for your lawyer to review the contract first.
Who does a real estate lawyer work for?
Both the buyer and the seller should obtain their own legal representation. A real estate lawyer will not represent both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction.
Title insurance covers things like unknown title defects, existing liens against the property’s title, title fraud, and encroachment issues.
We go into detail on title insurance here. Your real estate lawyer will offer you title insurance on your home, and while it’s optional, we always recommend it to our clients.
If you are buying, your real estate lawyer will ensure all documents are signed, your funding is secured and finalized, and the property gets transferred into your name.
The buyer will pay their funds to the lawyer in trust, but usually, the funds come directly from your mortgage company and the client never touches the funds directly. Your real estate lawyer will hold your funds in trust until the deal closes.
If you are selling, your lawyer ensures all documents are completed, your mortgage is discharged, and you receive the funds from your sale.
The real estate lawyer can help you with any claims made against the other party after closing.
If something is different with the house than when you signed the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, your lawyer will get involved. Examples include appliances not working, a fireplace that was supposed to work but doesn’t, and the sellers leaving the house a mess.
Is a real estate lawyer mandatory in Ontario?
Yes. Only a real estate lawyer can register the transfer of property with Ontario’s Electronic Land Registration System (ELRS).
Your real estate lawyer will act as an intermediary between many people involved in a real estate transaction. Your mortgage lender, both real estate agents, the other party’s real estate lawyer and you, the client.
Your lawyer will answer any questions that you have and although they work behind the scenes, they are like the quarterback of the transaction and will ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible.
McMurter & Associates in Whitby has been providing real estate and estate planning services throughout the Durham Region for more than 30 years. We have the experience needed to provide you with expert advice for any of your real estate and estate planning needs.