WHAT DOES A REAL ESTATE LAWYER DO?
Article by: Aneri Nanavaty
THE ROLE OF A LAWYER IN BUYING YOUR HOME
To own a home is something most people dream about. Purchasing your home will likely be the most significant financial undertaking you take on. Consequently, the importance of securing such an investment cannot be underestimated. Buying a home is a complex process, carrying immense legal ramifications.
At Shaikh Law, we will take care of all legal matters for such an important event in our clients’ lives. We ensure you do not have to worry about any hidden legal issues buried under extensive paperwork. Our real estate lawyers in Mississauga provide 100% support to our clients to protect their legal interests in the process of purchasing until our client has become the legal owner of the property.
Below, we briefly explain the role of our real estate lawyers. It is what you can expect in the process of buying and selling a home.
A REVIEW OF THE AGREEMENT OF SALE AND PURCHASE
An Agreement of Sale and Purchase, or simply, a contract, is a document which contains all the concerns related to purchasing a home. Along with the price of the property, it includes a detailed description of the home to buy and any other conditions included in the process by the seller. The contract should thoroughly be analyzed before the buyer signs it, while our lawyers are there to answer any questions you may have.
For a resale home, the buyer and seller will usually approach their lawyers after the agreement has been signed. If all conditions are satisfied, the lawyers identify the legal issues of the contract, protecting their clients’ interests. (Is it necessary to put in any advice to approach a lawyer before signing a contract??)
However, if you are constructing a home, a new build construction contract is looked over by a lawyer for approval, before signing.
Once an agreement has been reached, we conduct a title search for your purchase. Oftentimes, we may have to do multiple title searches for the buyer. But what is a title search? We meticulously look through land records to ascertain any liens, charges, mortgages, caveats or notices, such as notice for sale or power to sale by a bank regarding the property you are buying. If the buyer is acquiring a loan, his lender, in most cases, the bank, necessitates that a lawyer looks at the land records before the conclusion of the transaction. They must report to the bank any concerns they may have. Even if the buyer is not acquiring a loan, our real estate lawyer will check the records. Our lawyers will:
I. Draw up mortgage papers
II. Make sure there are no claims registered with the property
III. Evaluate the judgments (elaboration on this?)
IV. Evaluate the land transference tax due on closing
V. Certify that property taxes are up to date
Upon completion, our lawyers report to you, the buyer as well as the lender, providing copies of the title that has been issued by the Land Registry.
Title insurance protects against inborn vulnerabilities in real estate titles. These may not always be apparent from the title search. We cannot guarantee against latent defects in the title that are not registered, and hence are not easy to discover from a review of public records. Such latent defects in the title of this sort may include bogus deeds, missing inheritors, clerical mistakes, issues with payment of land transfer tax, the boundary of the property and the like. However, a general title insurance policy will be protective against such defects. Therefore, title insurance is imperative for all home buyers. Please also note that the Lender will make it a condition for financing to obtain lender title insurance to protect their interests. At the same time, the Purchaser, which is you, also strongly recommended to buy a title insurance policy.
A question we regularly get from our clients is,
“Do we need title insurance?”
Our answer to this question is that if you do not buy title insurance you are committing legal suicide. If the title is discovered to be defective, we cannot help you. Apart from protection against a defect, if a buyer purchases an owner’s policy at the same time as the mandatory lender’s policy, the title insurance company may give a considerable concession in the cost of a title Insurance policy. We will make arrangements for the purchase of title insurance and will also confirm you have a legal title upon finalization of property trade.
Shaikh Law Corporation Lawyers are registered and also on the approved lawyers list of the FCT (First Canadian Title) & Stewart Title but we can also work with other title insurance companies such as Title Plus. We will do our best to provide the best insurance policy for all of our home buyers.
Besides the title work, most home buys will need a lot plan of the property from an engineer or expert surveyor. The basic purpose of the lot plan is to make sure that the home that is being bought is sited on the land that is going to be sold. We must also make sure that there are no obvious encroachments where any portion of a neighbor’s home is constructed on your property or vice versa. As your lawyers, we will also check that the zoning is correctly applied to your property. This ensures that if the residential property is sold, then you get a residential zoning in your title
Real estate lawyers are also responsible for acquiring a metropolitan lien certificate for your property, from the town or city where the property is situated. This is so that the status of due real estate taxes can be calculated in your statement. If the seller has overpaid their property taxes then the amount will be adjusted to give a credit to the seller. If the seller has not paid the property taxes then the credit will be given to the buyer towards his purchase price. We ensure that you are not overpaying in property taxes, but nor has the tax been previously neglected. As your real estate lawyers, we are responsible for your property tax only for the number of days that you own the property, and not for the entire year.
Before the closing of a purchase and sale, a final trust ledger is provided to the home buyer by a lawyer. This ledger shows all statements of accounts along with the copy of title, land transfer tax, and any and all descriptions or detail of monetary aspects of the purchase transaction. Along with the trust ledger, the lawyer will explain any other documents to the buyer which may include the details of the loan.
As your lawyers, we are responsible for making arrangements for all necessary closing papers, fixing the schedule of closing, explaining all essential closing papers and ensuring their proper execution and documentation. After the buyer and the seller both have completed all the closing documentation, the lawyer records the title deed, which is the mechanism by which the person selling home conveys title of the home to the buyer for the determined price. This is the best part, where your home becomes yours.
After finalizing the transaction and making sure that all legal and financial requirements are met, your lawyer exchanges legal documents and keys with the seller’s lawyer. It is important to note that keys to the buyer are not released until the seller’s lawyers receive payment for purchase along with all supporting documents. Therefore it is possible the possession time mentioned in the agreement differs from the time the keys are finally handed to the buyer’s lawyers. Therefore, our buyers need to keep in mind that keys are usually not released at the same time as mentioned in the agreement.
Above all, a real estate lawyer is here to make the purchase and sale of your home easier on you. As it is a difficult time, both financially and emotionally, our lawyers will keep you updated every step of the way and ensure that you always feel safe and prepared during this time.