When buying a new home, at what point do you need a lawyer? Should a lawyer be involved in the entire negotiation process, or do you only need one by the time the deal is done? Most Canadian home buyers opt for the latter option, contacting a lawyer only after the offer has been made and accepted, because of the impression that it will save them money. On the contrary, hiring a lawyer only when the deal is done (or worse, not hiring a lawyer at all!) is mistake that usually ends up costing home buyers a huge amount of time and also money.
After all, a real estate lawyer does more than just review the purchase agreement, conduct a title search, register the deed, and transfer the funds. While all these are clearly important functions, there are other equally important tasks that a property lawyer can serve that will make it all the more imperative for you to hire one early one.
For one, an province-specific real estate lawyer can review all the paperwork well ahead of time and ensure all laws and tax issues in your province are met. Financially speaking, most home sellers face a few unpleasant surprises that sneak upon at the end of the home purchasing process or even after they’ve settled into their new houses. Surprises such as additional charges and structural defects, and HST at a whopping 13 percent in Ontario, charged on newly constructed residences only -problems that can be prevented early on by a lawyer.
Of course, enlisting a lawyer from the very beginning cannot only save you money in certain areas, they can also pinpoint rebates and province specific tax rates, such as first-time home buyers’ credit and HST rebates. Another reason to involve a lawyer early on is to be afforded full protection in terms of financing.
Lawyers who understand provincial and federal law, rules and regulations will help you make the correct decisions in terms of purchasing, financing and signing on the dotted line. For example, he or she can help the home buyer not get stuck in a deal where there’s no way to opt out of financing, and navigate “legal language”. There are always going to be certain terms that the home buyer might not understand, and can only be correctly interpreted by a lawyer. For instance, if the contract uses the word “encroachment” instead of “easement”, the home buyer might not even realize that there’s an existing condition that prevents him from exercising full property rights over the subject property. Then payment of outstanding real estate taxes is also a matter of concern, as most sellers pass on the burden to the home buyers with the latter not even realizing it.
To put it simply, a lawyer plays a pivotal role in the process of buying a home. If you do away with one, the consequences will most likely be dire, and you will be forced to comply with conditions in the purchasing agreement that weren’t all too clear to you in the first place