Real Estate Lawyers: Helping you Defend Your Title
Buying a home is a complex process involving many moving parts. It’s usually one of the single most expensive transactions a person makes in their lifetime and it is important that you retain a lawyer early in the process to guide you through your home purchase or sale and ensure that the transaction closes smoothly and on time.
So here’s the deal: Your lawyer’s number one priority is to protect your best interests. That means that the sooner you contact them in your home purchase journey, the sooner you’ll have a legal specialist in your corner, making sure your “T”’s are crossed and your “I”’s are dotted. When it comes to buying and selling real estate, “the devil is in the details.” All too often, a fact or item incorrectly set out or completely overlooked in the original sale contract can turn into a real doozie of an issue later on.
For instance, many homes include rented home components, such as water heaters, air conditioners or furnaces, which are not noted in the original sale contract, by matter of sheer oversight. Months after closing, the sellers get a big fat bill for the equipment, despite the fact that they have not been living at the property. Who should they contact? Their lawyer, of course! Although clients will often contact their real estate agents about issues like this, it’s the real-estate lawyer’s job to follow-up with the other side’s solicitor and make sure their clients pay the piper. This is yet another reason why it is favorable to choose a lawyer your agent has a good working relationship with, since they can work together to provide you with a smooth and timely transaction.
One of the most difficult issues a purchaser can face in the course of their purchase involves challenges to title to the property. This could be another person or entity having an ownership or other interest in the property, any unregistered easement or right-of-way, any expropriation of all or part of the property, or lack of a right of access to and from the property. Your lawyer will inform you of these potential issues, and conduct a full search of title in order to make sure you are making an informed decision. Not only that, but a good lawyer will give you the option to purchase title insurance, which offers insurance protection for most risks connected with the property title for the home buyer and mortgage lender.
Title problems can often be avoided in the first place by obtaining legal advice from a real estate lawyer early on in the process and ensuring they perform a full title search to identify any potential issues with the property in question.
Real estate lawyers will also provide the following services (to name a few): they arrange for the satisfaction and discharge of outstanding claims against the property, report any problems to you before closing and receive your instructions, meet with you prior to closing to explain and sign the closing documents, attend to the closing of the transaction, register title documentation and prepare a final report to you. In a purchase, they’ll also advise the municipal tax department that you will be become the new registered owner at the closing date, though it is always a good idea for you to contact the tax department as well.
A house is more than an investment. It’s a home, it’s where you’re going to live, presumably for a very long time. Your lawyer, real estate agent, and mortgage professional are your team, and they are in your corner, working together to help protect your interests throughout the transaction. In this boxing match, make sure you have a heavy hitter on your side of the ropes.
For more information please contact:
Afton Maisonneuve, Articling student, Kelly Santini LLP
Michael Abrams, Partner, Kelly Santini LLP