Role of a Real Estate Attorney Know Your Role When Buying or Selling a Home
Role of a real estate attorney
First, your attorney will send you a letter outlining what documentation they may need from you. Since you are likely to pay at least $1300 more for legal services, I think it is important that you know what your attorney will do for you! Below is detailed information about the role of a real estate attorney and what you need to do when working with your attorney and obtaining a mortgage. Don’t wait to hire an attorney before deciding on your new purchase, be sure to interview them well in advance of the closing date.
Your Real Estate attorney should tell you what expenses you are likely to incur in connection with closing procedures, including:
Property Transfer Tax
If you bought a new home from a builder, your Real Estate attorney can give you an informed estimate of how much you should budget for “hidden fees” such as:
Ontario New Home Warranty Registration Fee
Installation expenses for water and hydroelectricity meters
Qualifying Deposit Fees
If all the conditions of the Agreement have been fulfilled and the Offer is firm, the lawyer proceeds to investigate the property title. Initial searches include:
property tax searches
building searches, zoning and urbanism
registered title searches
The letters are sent by your lawyer:
to all municipal or regional utility departments to confirm there are no arrears or outstanding charges
to ensure that there are no conditional sales contracts, easements or unregistered agreements, encumbrances
to discover other liens affecting property or equipment left by Seller
Easements are a big problem and there are always stories written in the real estate newspapers and magazines about buyers who didn’t realize they weren’t allowed to put up fences or create a parking space because the inspection of the property they were on they worked didn’t work. It doesn’t actually show the city’s rights to access the property. Your attorney’s job is to make sure all of this is disclosed to you. Your attorney will also inform the utility departments of your name and scheduled closing date, and request that final meter readings be taken on the closing date so final bills can be sent to the Seller.
Your attorney requests a Tax Certificate to verify the amount of current year’s taxes and to inquire about arrears and outstanding tax charges. Your attorney will also write to the Department of Building and Zoning to get the full details of the zoning statutes and restrictions and permitted uses (so you know if you can operate a business from your home or build a huge deck, for example). It is important that you send your attorney a copy of the property survey as soon as possible; If the seller has a survey, I’ll get it for you if it’s not already included in the offer documents. If there isn’t a survey, tell your attorney so he can advise you how his interests can be protected through Title Insurance.
A Property Title Search is initiated at the Property Registry Office to ensure that the Seller is the true owner of the property, has the right to sell the property to you, and that the property is not subject to encumbrances, usurpations, easements . , liens, agreements or mortgages that were not disclosed in the Contract or Sale. You may have heard of fraud cases where people’s homes were sold by scammers who didn’t have title! This is where your attorney really earns his fee. This search must be completed by the Application Date (title search date) shown on your Purchase and Sale Agreement.
Other important duties of your attorney include:
Do a foreclosure search at the appropriate sheriff’s office to make sure there are no foreclosures against previous owners of the property that could affect your title.
Prepare and deliver a letter to the Seller’s attorney requesting that any items revealed in the initial searches be dealt with at or before closing.
Review the content of the Mortgage Commitment letter that your bank will prepare when you process your financing, and check with you the results of your signature.
Inform you of any closing day costs related to mortgage financing when your financial institution provides you with a Final Mortgage Commitment Letter.
If your attorney is also acting on behalf of the financial institution (which is often the case), he or she will prepare all necessary mortgage paperwork and submit this package to the financial institution for approval prior to closing:
– Certify the title of the property to the financial institution at the time of closing.
– Advise you about government programs designed to help homebuyers that would apply to you, including Land Transfer Tax Refund programs, Ontario Homeowner Savings Plans, RRSPs, and information on CMHC’s 5% down payment.
– Inform your insurance broker of the name, address, telephone number and fax number of both your lawyer and the financial institution that grants your mortgage. Your attorney needs a letter confirming that insurance coverage is in effect at closing; This is very important because the bank will not advance the $ to close your purchase until they know you have homeowners insurance.