The Role of a Lawyer/Notary in a home purchase

Kelowna columnists say buying or selling a home is a complex legal transaction

Buying or selling a home is a complex legal transaction and it is always in your best interest to have someone with knowledge of the law working on your behalf. This is where a lawyer or notary comes into the picture and it is not a good idea to use the same lawyer or notary as the other person in the transaction.

You will need advice from an objective person who will look after only your interests and depending on the complexities of the deal the charge is anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500 or more (including disbursements) for an average real estate transaction. A lawyer or notary will take care of the legal technicalities involved in closing a deal. These legal technicalities include ensuring you have valid title to the property you are buying and making sure it is correctly described in all documents. They can also review your offer to purchase and change it in any way to reflect your needs.

He or she will search the title to make sure no one else has claim to the property. Taxes and utility bills will be checked out to determine if the seller has paid them up to date. If not, you would be liable for them. The lawyer will examine the survey of the property checking to make sure it doesn’t violate any zoning or building bylaws. They will draw up the mortgage documents as provided by your lender and arrange for Title Insurance which is now required by lenders in all property transactions. They will determine if the property transfer tax is applicable and if so calculate the amount of property transfer tax to be paid. Upon completion of the above and typically five to seven days prior to the closing your lawyer or notary will be in touch with you to arrange a meeting for signing the documents. They will also advise you with a dollar amount required for the closing and you will be required to take a bank draft or certified check to the meeting.

On the day the deal closes, your lawyer will exchange documents with the seller’s lawyer who will hand over the deed a declaration of possession and relevant affidavits. If both lawyers agree all documents are in order your lawyer will give the seller’s lawyer a certified cheque for the balance due on closing and he will receive the keys to the property. Your lawyer will then register the deed and the property is legally yours and you may take possession. Later you can expect to receive all relevant documents and a report on the transaction from them.

Of Prime Interest is a collaboration of mortgage professionals Trish Balaberde 250-470-8324; Darwyn Sloat 250-718-4117; Christine Hawkins 250-826-2001

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