YOUR LAWYER’S ROLE
Since you will likely be paying between $1200 to $1800 for legal services, I think it’s important that you know what your lawyer will be doing for you! Below is some detailed information on the role of a real estate lawyer. Your lawyer should advise you what expenses you’re likely to incur with respect to the closing procedures, including: Land Transfer Tax, disbursements and legal fees.
Your lawyer will play an important role in the purchase of any condominium even before conditions are completed or waived. It is important to know who your lawyer will be even before you move forward with an offer, especially when buying a condo as your lawyer will need to review the Condominium Corporation’s Status Certificate. Depending upon which lawyer you use, either you or your lawyer will be responsible for ordering the Status Certificate. If the responsibility falls to you, I will definitely help make sure that a Status Certificate is ordered within 24-48 hours after an agreement is reached with the Seller.
The condo corp., or more usually the property management company they employ, will have 10 days to prepare the Status Certificate and send it to you or your lawyer. At this point your lawyer will generally have a couple of days to review the document. The Status Certificate discloses the balance sheet for the Condominium Corporation, how much money is in the Reserve Fund, whether or not they have an up to date maintenance assessment, whether there is any unresolved legal action being undertaken by the condo corp. or being brought against them. Your lawyer will also try to determine if it is likely that there will be Special Assessments that will result in a jump of your condo fees. Once your lawyer has reviewed the documents and found that the Condominium Corporation is sound and well run, we can firm up the deal and move to Completion.
If you’ve bought a new home from a builder, your lawyer can walk you through the enrollment in Tarion, the Ontario New Home Warranty program, and your rights under the program as well as its limitations.
If all the conditions in the Agreement have been met and the Offer is firm, the lawyer proceeds to investigate the title to the property, including such items as utility searches, property tax searches, building, zoning and planning searches and registered title searches.
Easements are a big issue and cases are always being written up in the newspapers and real estate journals about buyers who didn’t realize they weren’t allowed to put up fencing or create a parking space because the property survey they were working from didn’t actually show the City’s rights to access the property. Your lawyer’s job is to make sure all this is disclosed to you. Your lawyer will also advise the utility departments of your name and the scheduled closing date, and request that final meter readings be done on the closing date so the final bills can be sent to the Seller.
A Tax Certificate is requested by your solicitor to verify the amount of the current year’s taxes and to ask about any arrears and outstanding charges for taxes. If the Seller has provided a survey, it’s important that you send your lawyer a copy as soon as possible. If no survey exists, tell your lawyer so he/she can advise you how your interests can be protected through Title Insurance.
A Search of Title to the property is begun in the Land Registry Office to make sure the Seller is the true owner of the property, has the right to sell you the property, and that the property is not subject to any encumbrances, encroachments, easements, liens, agreements or mortgages that were not disclosed in the Agreement or Purchase and Sale. You may have heard of fraud cases where people’s homes were sold out from under them by con artists who had no title to the land! This is where your lawyer really earns his fees. This search has to be completed prior to the Requisition Date (title search date) shown on your Agreement of Purchase and Sale.
Other important functions of your lawyer include:
Prepare and deliver a letter to the Seller’s lawyer requesting that any items revealed in the initial searches be dealt with on or before closing.
Review the contents of the Mortgage Commitment letter your bank will prepare when you arrange your financing, and consult with you about the results of signing it.
Certify title of the property to the financial institution on closing
Advise you about any government programs designed to assist home buyers that would apply to you including Land Transfer Tax Rebate programs.
A note on home insurance: if you’re getting a mortgage, you must have home insurance to cover the property from the day of closing. Let your insurance broker know the name, address, phone number and fax number of both your lawyer and of the financial institution providing your mortgage. Your lawyer needs a letter confirming that insurance coverage is in place effective on closing – this is important because the bank will not advance the money to close your purchase until they know that you have property insurance. If the bank does not release the funds, your lawyer cannot complete the purchase of your home.
SERVICE | KNOWLEDGE | RESULTS
Thinking about Buying?
Should I Buy Now?
Getting Ready to Buy
Choosing the Right Agent for You
Why Choose Steve?
Searching the Listings
Choosing a Neighbourhoods
How Do You Buy a Home?
The Documents You Will Sign
The Deal is Firm: Now What?
Your Lawyer’s Role
Closing Costs & Other Fees
Preparing to Move
After Closing Day
334 Wellington Rd. S
London, Ontario N6C 4P6