Buying or Selling a House? 3 Reasons to Get a Lawyer Involved Early

Buying or Selling a House? 3 Reasons to Get a Lawyer Involved Early

David Munday*
Posted August 11, 2020 Category: Individuals/Families

Notwithstanding pandemics, lockdowns and other unplanned events, the real estate market in eastern Ontario is still going strong.  For most people, buying a home is one of the most significant purchases they will ever make. Whether it’s a house, cottage, condo or business property- engaging the right real estate lawyer early on in the purchasing process can save time, money and headaches down the road.

They Will Conduct a Detailed Review

Often a purchase agreement for real property doesn’t make its way to a lawyer until it has been accepted by both parties, conditions waived, and the negotiating is, for the most part, already done. Buyers who get their lawyer involved earlier on will have the benefit of their lawyer’s review of the purchase agreement, and any comments and advice prior to the agreement becoming firm and binding. 

A lawyer can carry out a preliminary review of legal title, identify concerns and determine whether specific conditions should be included in a purchase agreement prior to its execution and can advocate to ensure the buyer’s interests are properly reflected in the final agreement.

They Will Flag Issues Early

When the transaction is potentially more complex, a lawyer can flag specific issues for the buyer ahead of time, giving time to consider all relevant factors before signing off on the deal.  For example, are there easements on the property that affect its future use?  Are there restrictive covenants registered on title that prohibit certain changes to the property? Is the property accessed via a private road and if so, who pays to maintain it?  These are a few of the matters that a real estate lawyer can advise of early on, so buyers are not caught by surprise.

They Will Discuss Any Additional Documentation

Involving a lawyer early on is particularly important when buying a condominium unit. In addition to a purchase agreement, there are a number of condominium documents that should be reviewed by a lawyer, including the Status Certificates, prior to the deal going firm. A lawyer’s review of these documents will help you to ascertain the legal and financial status of the condominium corporation and inform a buyer’s decision to proceed.

Similarly, retaining a lawyer to review a purchase agreement for a new home bought from a builder is particularly important because purchase agreements for new homes are often lengthy and full of complicated details including HST rebates, Tarion warranty matters, acceptance of certain preconditions and restrictions and the like. A lawyer can explain the important provisions of a purchase agreement for a new home and discuss any unusual clauses with the buyer prior to the deal going firm.

We understand that buying a home is an exciting (and expensive) transaction and it’s important to ensure everything goes smoothly. Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or you’ve purchased and sold many homes, each transaction is unique and there are often questions to be answered.

Don’t hesitate to involve one of our lawyers early on in your home-buying process to ensure your interests are well protected and so they can answer any questions you may have from the very beginning through to completion of your transaction.

David Munday*
Posted August 11, 2020 Category: Individuals/Families

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