Role of a Buyer in a real estate transaction – A Lawyer’s perspective (guest post)

real estate lawyer

It is quite likely that by the time you have connected with a lawyer in a real estate transaction, you may be a party to a real estate contract that is or is about to become firm. Here are some tips on what to expect when working with a lawyer: 

Contact is King:

Speak to the lawyer. Get to know who you are going to be working in order to help you finalize the closing. This initial phone call with the lawyer of your choice is a good opportunity to both ask as well as listen. Ask the legal questions you have in mind with respect to your purchase. Also listen to the lawyer who can best break down the process and what is required of you. This means you should have good estimate of the amount of money that will be required from you in order to close the deal once your bank has provided the mortgage advance to the law firm. It is also important to find out what the legal expenses are along with related costs such as land transfer tax and government costs may be to be prepared in advance.

Connect the parties: 

Your real estate lawyer is going to require the agreement of purchase and sale so make sure you connect him or her to your real estate agent. An introductory email or exchange of contact is a great idea. This way, if the lawyer requires any information, they can  reach the source directly. 

You’ve also likely been working with a Bank to secure your mortgage and this is another important party to introduce to the lawyer. The law firm requires mortgage instructions to complete the file and the earlier they arrive, the better. Connecting these parties early on will help expedite the process and avoid delays. 

Meet your deadlines: 

If you are buying a condominium, newly built or resale, you may be under a time constraint to have your paperwork looked over by a lawyer. This often involves review of a status certificate or an agreement of purchase and sale within the stipulated ‘cooling’ period. Make sure your lawyer is available to meet the deadlines listed in your agreement. 

Provide Information: 

Your lawyer is going to require instructions from you on how you wish to take title to the property and the capacity by which you are going to do so. This is where concepts like ‘joint tenancy’ and ‘tenants in common’ will be explored. To decide, you will likely need some input from your lawyer. 

You may also be in for some good news if you are a first time homebuyer. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you may qualify for a land transfer tax refund (up to $ 4,000 as of January 1, 2017) which may save you a significant amount of money. Be sure to share this information with your lawyer. 

Other information such as your citizenship or residency status, intended use of the property, will need to be provided along with sharing personal identification information.  

Stay connected: 

Make yourself accessible to the law firm at all times. If your phone number has change, notify the firm so that they can reach you to obtain important information and receive the requisite instructions from you as necessary. 

Insure your property: 

You will be required to set up fire insurance on your property prior to completion. Be sure to have your insurance representative’s information handy so that this can be taken care of. 

Meet the Lawyer: 

Hopefully by this time you have exchanged phone calls and emails with the lawyer. Now is the time you will be coming in with your photo identification along with the certified funds required to close your deal. This amount required will be shared with you prior to the meeting as soon as the lawyer has information of your mortgage advance from the bank. A breakdown of fees and costs will be shared along with the signing of all legal paperwork. 

The meeting can typically take anywhere between 30 minutes to 1 hour and is a great opportunity to ask further questions. 

Pick up your Keys:  

Keys will be released by your lawyer once you have been registered as the official owner on title. Congratulations! At VRS Law, we would simply the whole process for you.

What to read next: More posts about real estate law here

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