For most people, buying a house represents the biggest investment they will ever make. It is not a decision that is taken lightly or often. Clearly, then, it makes sense to hire a lawyer to oversee the deal and protect the buyer’s interests. The importance of finding the right lawyer – someone who is well-versed in real estate law – cannot be overstated.
Here’s what the right lawyer can do for you:
1. Alert you to issues you may not have known about, so you can avoid costly mistakes and make an informed decision
EXAMPLE: Your lawyer discovers that the house you are about to buy is subject to a utilities easement in the rear of the lot. As a result, you will not be able to build the swimming pool you have always dreamed of, even though the lot appears to be big enough.
2. Ensure that you get good title to your property
EXAMPLE: Your real estate lawyer will do a comprehensive check of title to the property, to ensure that there are no claims registered against it. This could happen if, for example, the current owner had previously hired a trade to do work on the property, and then failed to pay for the work that was done. This might be recorded as a lien against the property, which would need to be discharged before the buyer could get good title.
3. Ensure that you don’t encounter any nasty surprises or expenses at closing
EXAMPLE: You have been looking for a condo for months now. Finally, you find a seller who purchased a new construction condominium unit from a developer, and wants to assign the unit to you. It is not clear whether you qualify for the HST Rebate for New Homes. Only a lawyer who is well-versed in the intricacies of the rebate program can protect you from unpleasant disappointments and cash flow problems, by making sure you are indeed eligible for the expected rebate.
4. Advise you how to take title
EXAMPLE: You and your spouse are not sure of the difference between taking title as tenants in common or as joint tenants. Your real estate lawyer explains the meaning of the terms so you can make an informed decision. At the same time, your friend suggested that you take title to your home in a company name. Your lawyer explains that this will prevent you from receiving the tax-free capital gain to which you would otherwise be entitled on resale, so you decide to take title in your personal name instead.
5. Help protect you against bad financing arrangements
EXAMPLE: Most buyers require financing in order to complete the purchase of their new home, so most buyers (and realtors) are accustomed to making their offer “conditional upon financing.” Unfortunately, this type of condition does not provide the buyer with sufficient protection: if the offer is only “conditional upon financing,” there is a chance that a buyer might qualify for financing at a burdensome interest rate, but would still be obligated to proceed with the transaction, since financing was – technically – available. The right real estate lawyer would ensure that the condition in the offer is worded in such a way as to provide the buyer with the maximum protection. He or she would also review your mortgage to make sure you are getting the best deal possible, and have no unexpected mortgage-related expenses at closing.
Overall, there are countless ways in which the right real estate lawyer can save you money. Don’t be penny-wise and pound foolish! Come to RKLaw, and let us guide you safely through the stress and challenges of your biggest investment. Then sit back and enjoy your dream home.