What Does a Real Estate Lawyer Do?

A real estate lawyer will be a required part of your real estate transaction. But do you really need to hire a lawyer? Can you get by without one? What if the other party of the transaction already has one?

Here’s what you need to know about the role of a real estate lawyer during your home purchase or sale. 

Why Should You Hire a Real Estate Lawyer?

First, let’s talk about why you need a real estate lawyer. In Calgary, and in all of Alberta, you are required to consult with a lawyer when buying a home. A lawyer will ensure that everything is legally binding when transferring property. When selling or refinancing a home, it’s not required to consult with a lawyer, but doing so will help protect your interests and give you guidance through important details and legal documents.

What Exactly Does A Real Estate Lawyer Do?

Whether you are buying, selling or refinancing your home, a real estate lawyer provides legal counsel along the way. The services offered vary depending on which of the three scenarios you fall under.

When Buying a Home

When you are purchasing a new home, a real estate lawyer will do the following:

  • Review all documents, which can include: 
    • Purchase Agreement: Ensure the proper disclosures associated with the property are included and advise you on any conflicting issues that arise between you and the seller
    • Certificate of Title: Perform a title search and ensure the seller is the current owner of the property and that there are no liens or outstanding permits on the home
    • Real Property Report: Review all items listed to ensure all items on the property comply with local laws and explain what is included
  • Gather all the required documents and information from you to help you apply for a mortgage 
  • Walk through all documents during the process and answer questions 
  • Advise you on changes to make in agreements to protect you legally and identify potential problems with an agreement
  • Find resolutions for unexpected delays or added expenses
  • Ensure that the transaction is handled in a timely manner

When Selling Your Home

When selling a home, there are many things that could potentially go wrong so it’s best to consult a lawyer who specializes in real estate to help you through the process.

A real estate agent will typically:

  • Explain all documents involved in the sale of your home and answer your questions
  • Prepare and review all legal documents required by the seller, which may include:
    • Listing Agreement: This can include determining which type of listing agreement to choose and preparing the contract with the real estate broker
    • Purchase and Sale Agreement: Ensuring all relevant disclosures are included and advise you on any conflicting issues that arise between you and the buyer
  • Offer: Set or review conditions when receiving an offer
  • Provide statement of adjustments for items including:
    • Property tax
    • Condo fees
    • HOA (homeowners association) dues
  • Complete discharge of your responsibilities as the seller in relation to the property
  • Ensure the full amount for the sale of the property have gone through before delivering the title and keys to the buyer
  • Payout and closing of any mortgage and real estate commissions
  • Ensure timely delivery of closing funds 

When Refinancing Your Home

When refinancing your home, you can entrust a lawyer to:

  • Explain all documents involved in refinancing your home and answer your questions
  • Review of all documents related to your refinancing, including lender instructions
  • Gather and prepare all the required documents and information from you to help you apply for a mortgage 

Work With an Experienced Real Estate Lawyer

Your home is one of the most significant financial investments you can make. Don’t trust legal advice from just anyone or hope that the other party’s lawyer has your best interest at heart. One80 Law’s legal team has the real estate law experience you need. Book a consultation today.

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