Whether you want to invest in an antique farmhouse in Nova Scotia or a penthouse loft in downtown Toronto, you need the guidance and help of a real estate lawyer to make the process flow smoothly. Without legal advice, you could end up with a home hiding serious flaws and have no way to back out of the sale. It's especially important to get help from a knowledgeable lawyer for these four parts of the home buying process.
Witnessing for Title Transfers
While you can handle most parts of the registration and title transfers yourself at the local registry, you still need at least one real estate lawyer to witness the signing of the paperwork. This ensures the transfer is valid and that both parties agree to the transaction. Some provinces, such as Ontario, require two separate lawyers as witnesses on transfer forms.
Researching the Property's History
A seller may think a property is ready to sell, but a thorough title search conducted by a lawyer could reveal an outstanding lien or ownership dispute that ties up the sale for many months or years. Legal research into a property's title and history also commonly uncovers issues like:
- Inaccurate descriptions that do not accurately reflect the borders or contents of the property.
- Unsolicited mortgages secretly registered against the property.
- Multiple owners that must all agree to sell the property together.
- Bylaws that limit the buyer's usage and building rights.
- Easements allowing neighbors and local utilities to use part of the property.
Reviewing the Purchase Terms
A lawyer specializing in real estate transfer can help you craft a contract that protects your rights as a buyer. With the right wording, a lawyer can set up escape clauses that let you cancel a pending sale if a building inspection uncovers serious problems or you fail to secure the right mortgage. Failing to work in these clauses leaves you legally responsible for completing the purchase despite any problems that arise.
Disbursing Property Costs
The real estate lawyer also assists in the timely disbursement of the fees and payments related to the sale. One missed deadline leaves the entire sale hanging in the balance. If you want to move into your new home as soon as possible, let a lawyer guide you through the payment process.
Hiring a real estate lawyer does add a few extra fees to your home buying costs, but those fees are well worth the expense. Catching title issues and formulating your contract to include escape clauses are two steps that are nearly impossible without the help of a professional. (For more information on attorneys that can help, contact Stephens Holman Devraj laywer or another practitioner)