Seven things you need to know about real estate lawyers

Father and son in front of home purchased with the legal help of an Edmonton real estate lawyer in the law firm Coley Hennessy Cassis

1. Don’t wait until the last minute to hire your real estate lawyer.
There are no unimportant steps in the buying or selling of a property. Just one misstep, made without the help and guidance of a real estate lawyer, could jeopardize your transaction or make it much more costly to complete. Even if you are contemplating a real estate deal, it is prudent to get the input and guidance of a real estate lawyer.

2. Unbiased advocate.
Whether you are buying or selling a property, your real estate lawyer’s singular focus is to act in your best interest.

3. Wording matters — a lot.
Your intent and what is set out in a purchase or sale agreement may be two very different things. For example, by not reading (and understanding) the fine print, you may unknowingly assume responsibility for something. Never sign any real estate document until your real estate lawyer has reviewed every word and confirmed that it is OK to complete the transaction.

4. Buying versus selling.
The buyer is obliged to give the seller real estate reports and compliance, title insurance, and property taxes. Contact us if you need a lawyer to sell your property.

5. Sticker shock.
You may be attracted by the advertised price of a property and assume that the final price will be the same. Think again.

The final price may be higher because it includes “closing costs”, such as property taxes, and other adjustments.

6. Total legal fees.
The legal costs related to the purchase or sale of a property go beyond the fees you pay your lawyer. Protect yourself by ensuring you get a quote that includes all fees and expenses (disbursements), not just the basic legal fee. Beware of unusually low quotes for legal services as they may indicate the law office lacks the resources to give your transaction the attention it needs and deserves.

7. Misleading developer marketing.
Don’t blindly accept promotions. There are always conditions and terms and it takes the skilled eye of a real estate lawyer to interpret what is actually being offered.

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