The last thing you need to worry about once you’ve bought or sold your house is the legal aspect of the closing. It should be organized, on-time and stress-free. Why isn’t it always this way and how can you make sure it will be?
Contact more than one law firm or real estate closing centre. Don’t jump at the biggest yellow page ad or top Google search. Do some research by calling a few law offices and asking a lot of questions. A little extra time invested will save you from regrets down the road. Unless a lawyer or closing centre is willing to spend some initial time getting acquainted with you, move on!
Don’t base your decision on price alone. However, you will need to know what it’s going to cost you to close. Ask for an “all inclusive” or fixed price quote that will allow you to compare “apples to apples.” The average total cost for a house sale including taxes is $1,450 and for a house purchase, $1,750. Add land transfer tax on top of this for a purchase.
Hire a lawyer who dedicates at least 50% of his or her practice to real estate law. Although, not fool-proof, this is a good indication that he or she stays current and educated in this area.
Customize your lawyer. It’s guaranteed that you have a unique aspect to your closing. Maybe you work until 7 o’clock at night or maybe you will be out of town on the closing date. Whatever the case, make sure your lawyer is willing to cater to your needs. Many real estate lawyers have flexible hours or even better – find one that makes house calls!
The best lawyers will ask you a lot of questions. Is this a matrimonial home or an investment property? What are the intended uses of the property? How do you intend to hold title? Have there been any structures added or renovations carried out since you owned the home? The more information collected from you, the better able the lawyer is to avoid potential problems and provide the best service.
Ask your real estate agent or mortgage lender for references. They may be able to give you an idea as to a lawyer that is competitively priced, competent, and will provide the best service to you.
You deserve to find a lawyer that is willing to educate you, cater to your unique situation and add value rather than just rubber stamp the deal!
Maureen Tabuchi, LLB provides commercial and residential real estate services to individual and businesses in the GTA. She can be reached at 416-477-5673 and maureen@.