how to hire a real estate lawyer

It doesn't matter if you're a first-time buyer or a seasoned property investor, home ownership can be one of your biggest assets in life or the biggest liability. Handling transactions of this magnitude should involve the professional counsel of a lawyer who will make sure your rights are protected, and help you understand all of the legal jargon and paperwork that's involved in the homebuying process.

Here are some easy tips to ensure that you find the best lawyer for your Kelowna real estate transaction.

Do You Need A Real Estate Lawyer/Notary Public to Process Your Home Purchase?

Before we dive into listing what you need to look for when hiring a lawyer or notary public, let's review the reasons why you should hire a professional to facilitate your home purchase: 

1. The correct property is purchased

2. The property title is accurately transferred to your name(s) at the correct time

3. The title is free and clear of prior owners’ encumbrances

4. To ensure your mortgage is registered properly on the property title

5. All necessary documentation is properly executed and that all parties (buyer, seller, Realty firms, other Lawyers, Government agencies, insurance companies) have their appropriate copies as required

6. The statement of adjustments is correct Since the legal process varies from province to province within Canada, you will need to consult with your chosen lawyer/notary public to find out the steps to complete before you get the keys to your new home. He/she will prepare a "Statement of Adjustments" outlining all the financial aspects of your sale, such as the payment of property taxes to the date of purchase and his/her fees and disbursements.

How To Find The Right Lawyer For Your Real Estate Transaction

Start Looking Early

If you've worked with a lawyer that provided you with a positive experience in your home buying journey in the past, it's a good idea to consider working with them again since they're someone you know you can trust and rely on. But if you've never hired a lawyer for a real estate transaction, or if you're a first-time home buyer, it's best to start looking for a lawyer at the same time you begin house hunting. It's in your best interest to have a lawyer walk you through the process from start to finish to avoid any bumps along the way! If you leave finding a lawyer to the last minute, you might be stuck with an uninformed decision, or going with that's not your first choice.

Hire an Experienced Real Estate Lawyer

When you're searching for a lawyer, it's critical to find a professional that specializes in real estate law, and one who often handles real estate transactions. It's important to know how many years they've been practicing real estate law. You want to find a lawyer who knows your local real estate market, let alone lives in the same market.

Go by Recommendations and Referrals

Most people hire a real estate lawyer when buying or selling a house, so it's a good idea to get in touch with anyone you know who recently purchased a home. Here are some key questions to ask:

  • Would they recommend their real estate lawyer to friends or family?
  • Was the lawyer available to answer their questions, meet with them, and take their calls?
  • Was there a set fee or any unforeseen costs?

Keep in mind your REALTOR® can help you find a reputable lawyer since they're always using legal services and expertise for real estate transactions. Ask your agent what they like about their preferred real estate lawyer.

Check Out Their Website

A website can say a lot about a lawyer. Whether or not they come across as sophisticated online is one thing, but the most important thing to notice is if their website provides useful information. A good website should show a lawyer's credentials, experience, principal areas, expertise, practice, fees, FAQs, and if they have any local offices. Keep in mind you'll want to find someone local since you're likely to have to meet more than a few times during the homebuying process.

Check Out Reviews Online

If you don't have any referrals for a lawyer after you've checked out their website, it's a good idea to spend some time on reading their reviews. Keep in mind that some online reviews are more credible than others. Make sure the website that publishes the reviews is reputable too! Contacting your province's law society, or real estate board might be able to steer you in the right direction in finding you a great real estate lawyer.

Schedule a Consultation

Most lawyers offer a free consultation, so once you've found a few lawyers you think could be solid candidates for your real estate transaction, schedule a consultation with them. These appointments should help clarify the lawyer's experience, and whether or not you can manage to do business with them. Here are some questions to inquire about your meeting:

  • Cost. What does the fee structure look like?
  • Who will be working on your case?
  • What is the timeline?

Remember: you won't receive specific advice during the consultation, but you'll likely have a clear idea what to expect and steps involved in a real estate transaction.

Get Organized

The more information you can give to your lawyer, the more likely your lawyer can provide you with a successful real estate transaction experience! Hand over appropriate documents from start to finish. Your lawyer will ask you questions and request documents that will better identify any issues or problems before sealing the deal on your property.

We Can Help

Finding the Best Lawyer/Notary Public for Your Real Estate Transaction is critical. We see it all the time… The joy and excitement of buying your dream home often fizzles to oblivion when it comes to the legal aspect. Joy turns to dread and excitement to concern when many potential home buyers begin flipping through the stacks of documents to read, understand and sign on the dotted line. This is an important decision with long-lasting effects, so it is crucial it is handled with the utmost care and attention to detail. Consequently, it is therefore imperative you have a good lawyer or notary public acting for your best interest, protecting your rights and financial matters. At Vantage West, we do this sort of thing “all day long” and are more than happy to introduce you to someone you will be able to trust with this investment and see to it you are only charged appropriately for this service. We will only recommend qualified professionals with adequate real estate experience.

Posted by AJ Hazzi on


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