Selling a home is one of the largest financial transactions most individuals will make in their lifetime. While many sellers receive support and advice from a realtor, a real estate lawyer is also an important part of this transaction. Here’s why hiring a real estate lawyer when you decide to sell is a sound investment to help save you time, headaches and money.
Property law is vast and can be obscure
Real estate lawyers are experts in property law, one of the most complex and confusing areas of law. Different cities within Ontario may each have their own laws and bylaws that relate to property. When you hire a lawyer to sell your home, they advise you on specific laws and bylaws that may require attention in your sale agreement and ensure you’re in compliance with current property law.
Not all sales are the same
Often realtors will use a template agreement for each sale. However, not all home sales are the same. A lawyer can help explain the purchase agreement, make necessary changes and additions to reflect the seller’s desires.
The purchase agreement needs to address many issues. For example, what will happen if the sale does not close? What happens if deficiencies are found in the home upon an inspection? Your real estate lawyer will help you answer these questions before they arise. Confusion or uncertainty is the last thing you want in a purchase agreement.
If you’re selling your home, there may be significant tax consequences. Your real estate lawyer can help you to understand and properly respond to these consequences. For example, if you make a profit on selling your home, you may have to pay a tax on that profit. A real estate lawyer will advise whether there are tax provisions that can help you save more of your money in this case. There may be tax provisions that allow for exclusion of these gains from selling your house in certain circumstances.
Ensure someone always has your best interests in mind
It is useful to work with professionals like a realtor and a mortgage broker. They can help you finance the purchase of a new home, advertise your home for sale and help you find a buyer. While they can help you, they also might have their own, or more likely their companies’, interests in mind. A lawyer can help you by reviewing your realtor contract agreement and financing agreement to ensure they are lawful and that you won’t encounter problems down the road.
The Closing Process in Ontario
When a buyer is found and a purchase agreement is signed, your lawyer will help lawfully close the deal to the seller, buyer and financial institutions’ benefit. Here are just some of the important tasks a real estate lawyer will perform at closing time:
- title searches to ensure the sale of your home is valid
- help you remain in compliance with all the provisions of the purchase agreement
- ensure funds are properly received prior to releasing the deed to the buyer.
- make sure the funds are applied properly to the purchase of a new home (if applicable)
- deliver the keys to the new owners
- informing utility companies of the sale
If you’re thinking of selling your home, a lawyer should be one of the first professionals you speak with to ensure that your sale isn’t tied up in legal complications. Chown Cairns group of Niagara real estate lawyers provide superior representation on behalf of both sellers and buyers. Click here to book a consult with one of the lawyers in our real estate practice group.