Real Estate

What Does A Real Estate Lawyer Do And Why Do I Need One?

Realtors are largely involved in the initial process of searching for properties for their buyers or managing the sale of a property, however, real estate lawyers are necessary to ensure that these deals close smoothly. There is a lot of paperwork involved in the purchase or sale of such large assets. It is a good idea to hire a real estate lawyer because beyond reviewing and explaining the relevant legal documents such as the purchase agreement, a lawyer’s role involves going over the mortgage documents, completing title searches, handling the transfer of funds, and ensuring that the new property owner’s name is properly registered on title. Similarly, in a sale or mortgage transaction, a lawyer’s role also involves discharging existing mortgages and ensuring that any outstanding liens or encumbrances on the property are cleared.

When Should I Hire A Real Estate Lawyer?

Typically, a real estate lawyer will come into the picture once the Agreement of Purchase and Sale has been signed. However, it is ideal to hire your lawyer before completing this step so that they have the opportunity to review and amend any problematic clauses. Even sophisticated buyers and sellers with some real estate experience should consult a lawyer as every transaction is unique. There are many moving parts involved in completing a purchase, sale, mortgage, or refinance transaction thus, it is recommended to contact a real estate lawyer as soon as possible to ensure sufficient time to complete the necessary work.

What Should I Consider Before Hiring A Real Estate Lawyer?

Some common questions clients ask include, but are not limited to:

  1. What costs are associated with real estate transactions? Beyond the purchase or sale price of the property, the client is responsible for paying closing costs such as legal fees, title searches and registration fees, title insurance, land transfer tax, and depending on the location of the property, HST and additional land transfer tax. When considering your budget, it is important to also be mindful of repairs and upgrades to the property, inspections, appraisals, staging costs, the real estate agent’s commission, and mortgage-related costs.
  2. What are your legal fees? Legal fees can vary from one lawyer or law firm to another. Many real estate transactions carry flat rates however, these fees do not include HST and disbursements. Please reach out to our lawyers directly for a quote.
  3. Can I sign legal documents electronically? At Empel Law P.C., we recognize that the post-COVID-19 practices are here to stay. Our firm has adapted to provide virtual appointments and electronic signing whenever convenient. However, it is important to note that some lawyers or law firms may prefer, or require, wet ink signatures.
  4. What if something goes wrong after the transaction is completed? Unfortunately, it is not unheard of for sellers to conceal problem areas of a property, or for inspectors to be prone to human error. Fortunately, Empel Law P.C. is an experienced firm that can assist you in starting a civil action to remedy issues that may arise after the completion of a real estate transaction.

Can Buyers And Sellers Share A Real Estate Lawyer?

Although a real estate agent can represent a buyer and seller, this is generally not allowed for real estate lawyers. In accordance with the rules of the Law Society of Ontario, a lawyer is not permitted to represent both parties in a single real estate transaction. This is due to a conflict of interest, which also applies to matters outside of real estate law. It is recommended that each party hire their own lawyer, however, some exceptions may apply.

What Are The Risks Of Backing Out Of A Purchase Or Sale?

Unlike other consumer goods and services, real estate transactions do not have a “cooling-off period” or guaranteed cancellation policy. Therefore, it is important for each party to understand the implications of not abiding by the conditions that they agreed to upon signing. An Agreement of Purchase and Sale is a legally binding contract, regardless of subsequent issues that may arise such as not qualifying for a mortgage. If a buyer is unable to close or chooses not to proceed with the deal, their deposit will be forfeited, and they may be responsible for losses suffered by the seller. These losses can include legal fees, mortgage carrying costs, and the difference in price of the eventual sale. Alternatively, if a seller is unable to or chooses not to proceed, they may be sued by the buyer for breach of contract. However, there are some circumstances in which an agreement could become null and void, including but not limited to, conditional sales, liens on the property, substantial damage to the property, and misrepresentation.

Does The “Foreign Buyer Ban” Affect Me?

As of January 1st, 2023, non-Canadians have been banned from, directly or indirectly, buying residential property in Canada for two years until January 1st, 2025. The primary aim of the Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians Act (the “Act”) is to make housing accessible for Canadians. However, the following individuals are exempt and may still be eligible to purchase a residential property: permanent residents, temporary residents who satisfy prescribed conditions, refugees, and foreign individuals who are purchasing with their spouse or common-law partner who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. As of March 27th, 2023, the Act was amended to create new exemptions to no longer apply to work permit holders, vacant land, and non-Canadians purchasing residential property for the purpose of development. There are substantial implications for every person who violates the Act, including professionals such as realtors, developers, and lawyers.

Contact A Lawyer Today

At Empel Law Professional Corporation, our experienced lawyers will ensure that your real estate transaction goes smoothly.

Call now at 416-500-1937 for a consultation.

EMPEL LAW PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION IS NOT RETAINED AS YOUR COUNSEL IF YOU FILL OUT AND RETURN THIS FORM. UNTIL ONE OF OUR LAWYERS REACHES OUT TO YOU AND A RETAINER CONTRACT IS SIGNED THERE IS NO SOLICITOR/CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.
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Arkadiusz J. Empel urodził się w Katowicah. Jako dziecko emigrował do Kanady, razem z rodziną, lecz wrócił jako student aby ukończyć Pracę Magisterską w Krakowie. Przez swoją pracę z polonią w okolicy Toronto utrzymał władność w swojim języku ojczystym. Jeżeli Państwo życzy się skonsultować prosto z adwokatem Polski, proszę przedzwonić na numer 416-500-1937.