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Assume you have discovered your ideal home in Toronto. Its location, in addition to its characteristics and size, makes it ideal and you consider making the purchase. However, you are aware that there are many legal issues to take into account. At that point, a real estate lawyer in Canada can assist. 

From managing transactions and title transfers, real estate lawyers also handle disputes that may arise between parties during a real estate transaction. Let’s get more into the specifics. 

What Does a Real Estate Lawyer Do?

A real estate lawyer has many responsibilities, including:

  • Title Searches: Checks property histories for legal issues.
  • Inspection Reviews: Assesses home inspection reports.
  • Deed Transfers: Manages ownership transfers.
  • Price Negotiations: Handles purchase price discussions.
  • Drafting Contracts: Creates transaction agreements.
  • Contract Review: Examines contracts for fairness.
  • Zoning Compliance: Checks property use against local laws.
  • Dispute Resolution: Handles conflicts in transactions.
  • Permit Assistance: Secures necessary property permits.
  • Tax Advice: Guides on real estate tax implications.
  • Estate Planning Linkage: Integrates property decisions with estate plans.
  • Liability Assessment: Identifies and advises on property risks.
  • Closing Representation: Supports clients at transaction closings.
  • Legal Rights Advice: Guides on buyer and owner rights.

This is the summary of the responsibilities a real estate lawyer has, but for better understanding, let’s understand “What does a real estate lawyer do for home buyers and home sellers separately?”

Real Estate Lawyer for Home Buyers

  • Examining Contracts: Real estate attorneys carefully examine the purchase agreement, which is referred to as the agreement of buy and sale in Ontario, to make sure all relevant information, such as property boundaries and precise conditions, is included and that it is fair. They guarantee that the contract accurately captures the terms of the agreement, protecting against inconsistencies between oral agreements and the text of the contract. See our blog ‘New Home Cost’ before purchasing a new house. 
  • Title Searches: They do thorough title searches to ensure that your ownership rights are unaffected by liens or other legal difficulties. This includes investigating any unpaid bills that could still be due following the purchase, such as mortgages.
  • Acquiring Title Insurance: Even while title insurance is not necessary, protecting against issues such as title fraud or pre-existing liens is highly recommended. Real estate attorneys may help with the purchase of title insurance to ensure that you are covered against any title issues.
  • Managing Closings: What does a real estate lawyer do at closing? Real estate lawyers oversee the money and asset transfers that take place throughout the closing procedure. They manage your down payment and mortgage funds effectively, working with the seller’s lawyer to get you the keys to the home.
  • Legal Rights Advice: Lawyers advise you on local zoning laws and other rules that may have an impact on your property. They assist you in comprehending any potential legal problems you may have as well as your rights as a property owner.
  • Deal Negotiation: To secure the best possible price for you, they bargain with the seller or their representative. This means haggling over the purchase’s price and other crucial details.
    • Scenario: Let’s say you recently bought an apartment in Toronto’s downtown. I know you’re thinking, “When do I get the keys?” Here’s where having a real estate attorney helps. On the day of closing, all payments and documentation will be completed, generally by late afternoon. After making sure everything is in order, your real estate attorney will give you the keys. You may now begin settling into your new house and making use of the area you’ve fought so hard to get!

Real Estate Lawyer for Sellers

The presence of a real estate lawyer is essential for house sellers to ensure a seamless and compliant transaction. In this way, they assist:

  • Contract Preparation: The attorney checks that the seller’s real estate agent’s initial draft of the purchase agreement is thorough and adequately safeguards the seller’s rights. They might include additional terms or disclosures that are required and deal with certain details of the property.
  • Helping with Negotiations: The seller is represented by the real estate attorney throughout these discussions, particularly when it comes to fine-tuning the terms of the purchase agreement. They assist in overseeing the buyer’s proposed conditions to make sure they are in line with the seller’s best interests and the law.
  • Resolving Legal Issues: Real estate attorneys in Ontario take care of any legal issues, including encroachments or existing liens, before listing or finalizing the transaction. A more seamless transaction is ensured by this proactive settlement of difficulties.
  • Overseeing Closings: The seller’s attorney manages crucial duties such as keeping keys in escrow, drafting the statement of adjustments, and making sure money is distributed correctly during the closing process. Before releasing the remaining funds, they make sure that real estate commissions are paid out and supervise the payment of any current debts secured against the property, such as mortgages or property taxes.
  • Legal Obligations Advice: Attorneys offer crucial legal advice on conditions that must be fulfilled for a transaction to be completed, such as the duty to disclose any faults in the property.
  • Taking Care of Document Filings: Makes sure that, to properly register the property transaction, all required paperwork is submitted to the appropriate local authorities.

Here is the table summarizing the main responsibilities of real estate lawyers.

When to Work with a Real Estate Lawyer?

Here are cases when buyers and sellers should consider a real estate lawyer:

For Buyers:

  • When buying a property with legal complications such as foreclosures or homes in probate.
  • When dealing with properties that may have issues like zoning conflicts or unclear boundaries.
  • When investing in property to handle additional legal and tax implications.

For Sellers:

  • When resolving existing legal issues before selling, such as liens or disputes.
  • When handling complex transactions during a divorce or as part of an estate sale.
  • When the sale involves non-standard terms, such as when offering owner financing.

But why do you need a real estate lawyer in Toronto, Ontario?

  • Legal Compliance: Ensures all legal requirements are met.
  • Contract Safety: Reviews and secures contract terms.
  • Title Checks: Confirms property title is clear.
  • Dispute Handling: Resolves any legal conflicts.
  • Smooth Closing: Facilitates the closing process.
  • Risk Management: Prevents potential legal issues.

How Much are Real Estate Lawyer Fees in Ontario?

Let’s now tackle the most important query: how much does a real estate lawyer cost in Toronto?

Real Estate Lawyer Fees in Toronto

  • Title Transfer: Starting at $700
  • Refinancing: Starting at $700
  • Purchase/Sale Transactions: Starting at $800
  • Survivorship Applications: Starting at $500

In Ontario, total costs for real estate legal services can range from $700 to $2,000. This often includes a base fee covering several components of the real estate transaction process, such as disbursements (e.g., fees for document registration, obtaining necessary certificates, etc.). 

A real estate lawyer is crucial in ensuring that a transaction involving the purchase or sale of a house complies with legal requirements. They help with everything from contract writing and review to the finalization of property rights transfer.

The most important lesson to learn is that, even though the first outlay seems high, think of it as an investment in a safe and easy transaction. Consider potential concerns a lawyer can help you avoid, such as unresolved legal disputes, hidden problems, or expensive closing costs. Their knowledge might result in savings that considerably surpass the original charge, giving you peace of mind.
Now you know all about why you need a real estate lawyer and their responsibilities. Ready to make your next big move? Let us handle the details so you can focus on the joys of your new home. Contact us today to secure your closing with confidence!