Ensuring you’re legally protected when purchasing your first home is of utmost importance. But what do you need to know?! When do you need a lawyer and what exactly do they do? We’ve collaborated with Alexander Tershakowec from Burych Lawyer, to get some basic information on how they help and what you need to know.
Q: At what point in the search process should a buyer engage a lawyer?
A: The earlier, the better. Once the seller has accepted your offer you should start looking for a lawyer. Even if there are outstanding conditions in your agreement, it is best practice to have a retained lawyer on standby should any issues arise prior to closing. If there are legal defects with the property, certain defects need to be addressed a minimum number of days prior to closing, otherwise you assume those defects.
Q: What are important things to look for when choosing a lawyer to represent you in a real estate transaction?
A: Trust. You are about to close on the most expensive purchase of your life and need someone you can trust on your side. Our role as lawyers is to help guide you through this complex legal process and protect your interests. You should feel comfortable with us and know that we are acting in your best interest.
Q: What is the average total cost of a lawyer’s services for closing and what does it include?
A: The basic formula is Fees + Disbursements + HST. Fees are what we charge for your deal and can vary based on the type of property or work involved. Different lawyers have different fee structures, so you should discuss this with your lawyer in order to budget ahead of time. Disbursements are all of the real costs we incur on your file, like searching title to the property, bank fees for wiring funds, Land Registry Office fees for registering the Transfer and Mortgage, title insurance, etc. Do not forget about Land Transfer Tax! There are free calculators online that can determine your total Land Transfer Tax, including your First Time Buyer’s Rebate, if applicable.
(Lara and Indre have one in the links above!)
Q: What is title insurance and is it necessary?
A: Title insurance is an insurance policy that protects you against loss that could result from defects in the title of the property you are buying. The premium is paid only once (on closing) and is good until the property’s ownership changes. Unlike most types of insurance which protect policyholders from future events, title insurance protects you against defects that could already exist. If you are obtaining a mortgage, your bank will require you obtain title insurance, as the policy protects you both. If you plan on purchasing the property without a mortgage, speak with your lawyer well ahead of time on this, as there are additional searches that must be done in the absence of title insurance.
“You are about to close on the most expensive purchase of your life and need someone you can trust on your side.”
This stood out to us because it not only resonates when it comes to your real estate lawyer, but is true for every step of your journey. Connecting with the professionals representing you, trusting they have your best interest in mind and feeling comfortable asking questions is the most important decision you will make when you are buying and selling real estate.
The information being provided is strictly for educational purposes and is not to be construed as legal advice. Should you require any sort of legal advice, please consult with a lawyer.
Thinking of purchasing or selling a home? Contact Alex to see how he can help ensure you’re legally protected.