What does a real estate lawyer do?
The largest business transaction that most people ever make is buying or selling a house. Your realtor’s role in the real estate lawyer do process is probably well understood. However, your lawyer may not be as clear.
This isn’t unusual as most people know they need a lawyer for the home-buying or selling process. However, not everyone knows why. Many people don’t know the details of what happens behind closed doors, or what a real-estate lawyer does to assist with sales and purchases.
This brief explanation will explain what a real-estate lawyer does, and how they are involved in different real estate transactions such as sales and purchases.
What Does An Ontario Real Estate Lawyer Do?
A real estate lawyer is necessary when you are buying or selling your house. They will ensure that your ownership is correctly transferred and recorded, as well as protect your legal rights throughout the transaction.
This is only a small part of what a real-estate lawyer can do. Many aspects of legal work relate to real estate or land.
This includes helping individuals or businesses to navigate legal issues that relate to:
- Land ownership
- Use of land
- Subdivision and land development
- Transfer of title
What are the best times to hire a real estate lawyer do?
These are just a few examples of situations where a commercial or residential real estate lawyer can be helpful.
A residential real estate lawyer may be able to help in the following situations:
- If you’re leasing or renting a property or building
- Land disputes between neighbors or co-owners
- Transfer or succession planning for a family cottage
- Transfer of property to executor, beneficiary or surviving spouse
- Separate legal advice regarding transactions involving spouses
A commercial real estate lawyer may be able to help in the following situations:
- Facilitating development, rezoning or the secession of land.
- Legal representation for landlord-tenant issues
- Due diligence regarding potential land investments
- Negotiating and reviewing leases
- Refinance of a property
Do I need to hire a lawyer before I sign a real estate contract?
Most people don’t find a lawyer until they have signed a contract for purchase or sale. Your lawyer can help you before you sign the contract. This is especially relevant for commercial real estate transactions.
An experienced real estate investor will seek out a lawyer early on in the process if they are considering purchasing a large piece of land or commercial property. You will likely be familiar with due diligence if you have ever sold or bought a business.
Due diligence, as it is known in the industry, refers to “doing your homework before you make a big purchase or invest.” Due diligence in real estate, such as title searches or searches for encumbrances and liens, can often save you time and money. Because potential obstacles can be identified early in the process, it is possible to make an educated decision about whether or not an investment is worthwhile.
An experienced real estate lawyer will review the contract before you sign it. They can help you negotiate, minimize, or point out legal issues that may arise before you are caught up in the middle of the deal.
Real Estate Lawyer Responsibilities
Your real estate transaction may require that your lawyer take on additional responsibilities. A commercial lease review will require different involvement than the sale or purchase of a residential property.
The role of the lawyer in most real estate transactions is:
- Information gathering
- Due diligence
- Preparation and registration of documents
- File-keeping and record-keeping
- Assist with financial matters such as deposits or mortgages
What Can a Real Estate Lawyer Do for Buyers?
The buyer’s lawyer may have the following responsibilities:
- To verify that the seller is legally allowed to sell the property, it is important to review the title.
- Examining the purchase and sale agreement;
- As an intermediary between your mortgage lender and you
- Explaining your insurance needs and making sure you have title and home insurance.
- Participate in the signing of legal documents. Explain the purpose and answer any questions.
You will need to hold closing funds in trust, along with any funds from your mortgage lender. Then, you will need to transfer funds to the seller’s attorney at the right time so that the transaction can close.
What does a real estate lawyer do for sellers?
The seller’s lawyer may have the following responsibilities:
- Examine the Agreement of Purchase and other legal documents
- Assisting in the negotiation of terms.
- Facilitating the payment of seller’s mortgage, if needed
- Participating in the signing of legal documents. Explaining the purpose of the documents. Answering any questions.
- Exchange of legal documents with buyer’s lawyer
- Ensure that all financial and legal closing conditions are met
- Closing of the transaction
How can I work with my real estate lawyer?
Many people ask how they can help make their sale or purchase go smoothly. It is your first responsibility to find a lawyer and connect them with your agent.
It is important to keep communication lines open when working with a lawyer, especially if there are tight deadlines. It is important to be available to sign documents when necessary and to respond promptly and thoroughly to any requests for information. This will ensure that your transaction goes smoothly and efficiently.