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What happens after you’ve signed on the dotted line and the offer has been accepted? Whether you’re the purchaser or the vendor of a property, having an experienced real estate lawyer can make closing a deal much less stressful.

There’s a lot of activity associated with buying or selling a home. There’s loads of paperwork, and an experienced real estate lawyer understands the complexities involved in a deal. Whether you’re on the buying or selling end, your lawyer will ensure all the paperwork having to do with your transaction is filed properly and all payments are made in time and in full.

About Your Lawyer
According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), your real estate lawyer should:

  • Be a full-time licensed lawyer or notary
  • Live and/or work in the area
  • Understand the regulations and restrictions that accompany real estate law
  • Charge a realistic and acceptable fee
  • Be willing and able to explain things to you using language you will understand

Your lawyer will have certain duties that can include, but are not limited to:
Arranging title insurance. It’s necessary to have title insurance for your protection and the protection of your lender in case there’s a dispute regarding property ownership. Title insurance can be chosen by either the lender or your lawyer.

Taking care of land transfer tax. Laws governing land transfer tax vary by province and territory in Canada. Funds for these taxes must be given to your real estate lawyer before closing. On closing day, your lawyer will make sure the money is given to the appropriate government office on your behalf.

Remitting any remaining down payment. If you’re the buyer, when you signed the Offer of Purchase and Sale, you’ll have included a deposit to safeguard the deal. If the sale goes through, your deposit counts toward your down payment. If your deposit isn’t enough to fulfill the required down payment, you’ll have to provide your lawyer with the rest of the funds to make up the difference.

Choosing the Right Fit
You want to be comfortable working with your chosen lawyer. When deciding, ask questions regarding their fee, usually between $700 and $1,000 in most cases, but it depends on how complex the transaction is. You might want to seek out referrals before making your final choice, and you’ll want to be comfortable with your lawyer’s fees and be confident regarding their expertise and ability to fulfill their obligations in your home purchase or sale.

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