Buying or Selling a homeBy James A. Laks, B.A., LL.B.Why do I need a lawyer? A home represents the single largest investment that most people will make in their lifetime. By retaining the services of a lawyer when either buying or selling a home, you can ensure that your investment is not placed needlessly at risk. Your lawyer, working solely for you, will identify any problems associated with the transaction, bring them to your attention, work to rectify them and see that the transaction is completed smoothly. The sale or purchase of a home is an exciting, but often stressful, time. Forming a solid working relationship between you, your lawyer, your real estate agent and the other party will reduce anxiety and help make it a positive experience. What kind of problems can arise in a purchase or sale? Both major and minor problems can arise during the course of a purchase or sale. There may be liens against the property which, if not identified and discharged, become the responsibility of the new owner. Structures on the property may be found to encroach on a neighbour?s land, which may lead in future to their removal or a costly dispute. Arguments can occur over broken appliances, damage caused between the time the offer to purchase was made and the closing date of the sale, or simply because of personality clashes between the parties. Some problems may be minor impediments. your lawyer can negotiate on your behalf to ensure they are quickly and smoothly resolved.
What kind of services will my lawyer provide?
Your lawyer will carry out title searches, examine surveys, obtain building compliance and tax certificates, determine any zoning restrictions on how the property can be used and conduct other searches to identify any potential problems. He or she will also handle all of the necessary documentation involved in the transaction; register, transfer or discharge mortgages; and, assist you in dealing with any difficulties that may arise from the beginning to the completion of the purchase or sale. Your lawyer can also serve as a valuable source of advice to avoid potential pitfalls and traps, to help you fully understand mortgage arrangements and to ensure you anticipate and budget for all of the costs involved in the transaction. which most people underestimate.
What can I expect to pay?
Legal costs have two main components - your lawyer?s fee and the disbursements paid by the lawyer on your behalf to carry out such things as title searches, checking utility bill accounts, obtaining building compliance and tax certificates, registering documents and paying minor expenses like faxing, photocopying. postage and courier services. While fees can vary higher or lower depending on the lawyer, for simple transactions involving up to one mortgage, you should expect to pay a lawyer?s fee in the range of $600.00 for a purchase and $500.00 for a sale. Disbursements, many of which are paid to government agencies, will vary depending on the City and are subject to change. Most people buying or selling a home find that choosing a good lawyer, like choosing a good agent, is money well spent.
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