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When it comes to buying and selling homes, it takes more than just a shiny ‘For Sale’ sign for a successful transaction to go through. Even as highly experienced professional Realtors®, we depend on several third-party professionals to ensure the smooth completion of your transaction.
One of those trusted colleagues we depend upon are real estate lawyers, and whether you’re sitting on the selling or buying side of the table, they’re essential to helping you complete a real estate transaction.
A familiar question among our clients remains; what does a real estate lawyer do, and why can’t I just hire my regular multi-disciplinary lawyer for the job?
If you’ve found yourself asking what a real estate lawyer does, or just want to know more about the subject, this blog post is for you.
What Is A Real Estate Lawyer?
A real estate lawyer specializes in the real estate industry — primarily, helping buyers and sellers complete all the legal processes that go into buying or selling a property.
Just like every other type of lawyer, real estate lawyers must go through a long academic career before they can start practicing their trade.
Until they specialize in real estate law quite far down the line, the academic pathway for real estate lawyers is essentially the same as any other lawyer — first, they must earn a bachelor’s degree, followed by several years of law school, then pass the bar examination, and then finally study under a practicing real estate lawyer until they can begin representing real clients.
What Does A Real Estate Lawyer Do?
In short, real estate lawyers work behind the scenes to ensure every piece of paper you sign when buying or selling a home represents your best interests.
From beginning to end, if there’s a document that needs reviewing, terms and conditions that need outlining, or if you have any questions about the legal process of buying or selling a home, your real estate lawyer should be there to help you.
It’s their job to review and advise you on any important real estate documents while answering all of your questions and concerns about things like title, purchase agreements, title insurance options, appraisals, home inspections, and more.
Real estate lawyers do a lot for their clients — including the Realtors® they work with — to ensure every aspect of a transaction is conducted in a safe and beneficial manner for the party they represent.
When Do I Need A Real Estate Lawyer?
When it comes time to review the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, your real estate lawyer will analyze the document and identify any misleading or hidden information that would work against your advantage. They may also be privy to certain information about your buying or selling position that may need to be further supported in your agreement with certain clauses or conditions.
Similarly, your real estate lawyer may have suggestions for your Realtor® regarding the terms and conditions outlined in your Agreement of Purchase and Sale contract to work in your favour as much as possible.
If you’re buying a home, your real estate lawyer will also help you arrange the necessary Title Insurance for your new property. On closing day, real estate lawyers will also ensure you complete any outstanding payments, which commonly include sales taxes, land transfer taxes, and any remaining balances or commissions owed.
Most importantly, your Real Estate Lawyer will complete the act of closing your purchase or sale and transferring title, in Ontario there are no third parties to look after the process of transferring ownership, and buyers and sellers must each retain a lawyer to ensure the lawful transfer of ownership on closing
How Do I Find A Real Estate Lawyer?
Now that you have a better idea of what a real estate lawyer does and just how important they are to expediting the transaction process while protecting your best interests throughout, the final thing you need to know is how to find a good one to represent you.
Our best piece of advice? Ask your Realtor®. Our team of professionals has worked with many outstanding local real estate lawyers.
If you’re looking for a great real estate lawyer, we can put you in touch with a few of the most acclaimed and trustworthy real estate lawyers we continue to consult. All you need to do is let us know you’re looking for one by contacting us here and we’ll take care of the rest.