Whether you are buying a new house or selling your existing property you will need a real estate lawyer to assist you through the legal process of the transaction. Stakes are always high when it comes to real estate transactions because it involves hundreds of thousands of dollars. The role of real estate lawyers is to protect you against some of the possible pit falls of such transactions. This article outlines some of the areas where the role of a real estate solicitor comes into play.
One of the most important roles of a real estate lawyer is verify that the seller has a good marketable title. There are not any liens, encroachments, easements and other items against the property. While representing a buyer, real estate lawyers perform different searches on the property to make sure that the buyer is receiving a clean title and there are not any defects on a title. The most common claims filed against a title are liens, back taxes, work orders and easements or rights of way.
The title search reveals certain factors which determine the course of the transaction. Is the seller of the property in fact the legal owner? Is there any charge registered on the property, judgments or similar liens, which must be satisfied before a “clear” title can be conveyed to the buyer?
Are there any existing restrictions, easements or rights of way for roads, public utilities, which may limit or interfere with the buyer’s use of the property? As you can see, these questions can significantly effect a transaction and require a real estate lawyer to resolve all these issue.
While refinancing an existing property or obtaining a mortgage for the purchase of the new property, you will need to have a real estate lawyer involved to help you successfully obtain the loan. Lenders forward their mortgage instructions to your real estate lawyer. They review the documents and advise you accordingly. There are certain conditions of the lender that your lawyer will help you satisfy before proceeds are issued.
Before you sign the documents provided by your lender, your lawyer may enlighten with all the aspects of the mortgage so you are well aware of everything. Your signed documents are submitted to the lender by your lawyer. There are certain other conditions of a mortgage which may vary from lender to lender. It is the responsibility of your real estate lawyer to satisfy them all. Your lawyer will register a charge on your property once the lender has released the funds and your real estate transaction has completed.
Your real estate lawyer will also perform their responsibility of safeguarding your best interest. You can rely on them to ensure authenticity of the legal documents involved, and to make sure that you are not falling into any unseen legal problems. They can review the documents involved and explain everything to you in a way that you could understand more clearly. This way, you know what you are signing up for.
Your real estate lawyer may also negotiate the terms and conditions of the contract, which may also involve working with other lawyers and brokers. With the help of a competent real estate lawyer, you can be sure that your rights and interests are protected, and that your real estate transaction will close smoothly.
When you sign the agreement of purchase and sale while selling your property, you are bound to provide a mortgage free property to the buyer. Same goes with the refinance, your lender will ask you to pay off your previous mortgage and discharge it from the title. Your lawyer reaches out to your existing lender to request a mortgage payout statement for discharge purposes. On the closing of your real estate transaction your lawyer will deposit the funds into your existing lender’s account according to the discharge statement. On receipt of funds lender will discharge the charge from the property.
Before the closing date of the transaction your real estate lawyer will have you sign some legal documents. Those documents are necessary to complete a real estate transaction in Ontario. For the buyer, the most common of these documents are “Undertaking to Readjust” and “Direction Re Title”. Seller’s lawyer will also send documents signed by the seller. Your lawyer will then send these documents to the seller’s lawyer. Statement of adjustments is prepared by seller’s lawyer and provided to buyer’s lawyer. Funds are transferred to seller’s lawyer as per the statement of adjustments.
On receipt of funds, seller’s lawyer can release the title. Once released, your lawyer can register you on the title. If you are buying your property with the help of a mortgage, your lawyer will also register a charge on the property. The whole process is digital now and lawyers perform all these actions online.
Your lawyer will prepare the statement of adjustments. It will include purchase price, amount of deposit, realty taxes, common expenses (if condominium) and other expenses. Statement of adjustments is forwarded to buyer’s lawyer so they can transfer the funds on closing. The documents signed by you in the presence of your real estate lawyer are forwarded to buyer’s lawyer.
On receipt of documents other side will transfer the funds into your lawyer’s trust account. On successful receipt of funds, your lawyer can release you from the title. Once released, buyer’s lawyer can register their client onto the property. After all the expenses, your lawyer will deposit the remaining funds from the sale of your house into your account.
In conclusion, your real estate lawyer helps you close your transactions smoothly. They protect your interest throughout the course of transaction. They negotiate on your behalf with other lawyers, realtors, and lenders. They make sure that this complex procedure is carried out in the most pleasing and convenient manner possible. With the help of a real estate lawyer you can have peace of mind and legal protection.
Assistant Manager, Real EstateTreadstone Associates