Why Hire a Lawyer in Real Estate Transaction?
It is not a legal requirement to use a lawyer, but it will save you a lot of time and frustration and make the transaction much smoother. Lawyers specializing in real estate will be well worth the cost. For their fee, they will:
* search the property’s title to ensure there are no existing mortgages or liens registered against it;
* search the City Zoning Department to make sure the property complies with zoning;
* search gas, water and hydro records to determine whether there are any outstanding work orders attached;
* determine if property taxes are paid;
* prepares the land transfer tax affidavit;
* On closing day, attend the Registry Office to register the deed and mortgage.
In addition to the Lawyer’s “Fee for their Service”, you are also responsible for the lawyers “disbursements”. These include costs that the lawyer paid on your behalf including but not limited to searches and sub searches, title insurance land transfer tax, any long distance calls, photocopies, courier charges etc. Other closing costs include your proportionate share of the property taxes, and leftover heating oil, if applicable which will be identified on your statement of adjustments.
Having read the above, I believe at this moment when you are considering hiring your lawyer, you’d think of asking for the fee/cost in a detailed fashion so you are prepared, which means when you pick a lawyer, you would agree with him in advance as to the fee, what it includes and get it in writing.
Here is a list of those things that should be include in your contract of services to be performed by your lawyer for freehold purchases:
- Review executed Agreement of Purchase and Sale (but not including negotiating or drawing agreement and advising in connection therewith;
- Investigate title, make requisitions on title and or other matters recited in the agreement;
- Search for arrears of realty and all other taxes and rates constituting statutory liens;
- Advise on the applicability of HST legislation
- Search for executions (judgements against the builder or you)
- Review transfer (deed) and prepare one charge (mortgage) given back or taken;
- Review statement of adjustments and arranging title insurance if applicable;
- Subject to the use of title insurance make such examinations of survey (if available) or zoning, building by-laws, and work orders as is necessary and reasonable;
- Answer any questions of Purchaser relating to title, zoning and statement of adjustments while attending to execution of documents;
- Arrange for Closing, giving opinion on title or provide title policy, report and all other services necessarily incidental thereto:
Add the following for condominiums:
- Advise Client on how to review condominium documents;
- Check the description;
- Obtain and review status certificate from Condominium Corporation;
- Examine condominium unit plan (if available);
Disbursements are the monies your lawyer pays to third parties exclusive of the builder as part of your closing costs. Here is a quick list if title insurance is used. For your quick reference, here is a list of “disbursements” that likely involved in a real estate transaction.
|Subdivision Agreement Compliance (If required)||n/a|
|Status Certificate (condo’s)||$100.00|
|Title Searches and software costs, prelim and closing using Terraview||$60 – $200|
|Register One Mortgage||$70.60|
|Sheriff’s Certificates||$11 – $14.21/name|
|Bank Certifications||$10.00 each|
|Title Plus Policy||House – $303.40
Condo – $233.20
|TOTALS ~ Approximate
E. & O. E.