May 22, 2015

Selling or buying a property is one of the most significant transactions of an individual’s life, both financially and emotionally. Ensuring the transaction is handled by a capable legal professional will protect your legal rights and your sanity throughout the process.

The first step when selling or buying a property is typically the signing of an Agreement of Purchase and Sale. An Agreement of Purchase and Sale outlines the legal obligations of both the vendor(s) and the purchaser(s).

Selling your Property:

When representing you for a sale transaction, your Real Estate Lawyer will be responsible for ensuring that you fulfill your contractual obligations from the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, and will make sure that funds are properly received before releasing the executed Deed of Conveyance and Bill of Sale to the Purchaser(s).

Your Real Estate Lawyer will also handle:
  • Drafting the Deed of Conveyance and Bill of Sale for the transaction;
  • Obtaining the property Survey and Real Property Report (location certificate) and providing it to the Purchaser’s Real Estate Lawyer;
  • Calculating adjustments such as oil tank, property and water tax;
  • Paying out any outstanding mortgages;
  • Obtaining a confirmation of Release of any outstanding mortgages paid;
  • Registering a Release of Mortgage with the Registry of Deeds and obtaining a Registration Certificate for same;
  • Paying out the Real Estate Agent’s commission; and
  • Providing the keys to the Purchaser’s Real Estate Lawyer.

Your Real Estate Lawyer will meet with you to review and execute the necessary paperwork and explain what you can expect from the process, as well as advise you on any outstanding issues that may need to be taken care of.

 

Buying a Property:

In a purchase transaction, you can expect that your Real Estate Lawyer will review the Agreement of Purchase and Sale and advise you on its terms, however the most fundamental thing he or she will do is ensure that you obtain “good title” to the property you are purchasing. “Good title” means that the property is free of mortgages, debts, liens and/or title deficiencies etc.

Your Real Estate Lawyer will:
  • Draft all documents required for the transaction including your mortgage documents;
  • Sit with you to review and execute documents;
  • Register the Deed of Conveyance and Notice of Mortgage with the Registry of Deeds;
  • Transfer the funds to the lawyer for the vendor – following the two cheque rule (Learn More).
  • Request release of keys; and
  • Provide a final report on title to the financial institution used to finance the transaction.

Your Real Estate Lawyer will clarify the buying process and assist you at every step. He or she will advise you on matters such as obtaining a home insurance (fire insurance) policy, and whether title insurance would be a benefit to you. You should never feel that you cannot contact your Real Estate Lawyer with a question or concern. It is very important for the lines of communication to be open between you and your Real Estate Lawyer, so that you are up to speed on the closing date and so that you are aware of any potential issues.

 

How to choose a Real Estate Lawyer:

Now that you know why you need a Real Estate Lawyer, the next question is how do you choose one?

Tips when Choosing a Real Estate Lawyer:
  • Referrals – the best referrals are from past clients who are satisfied with the service they received. You can always ask your family and friends for a referral for a Real Estate Lawyer. Asking you Real Estate Agent for a referral is always another great option, as your Real Estate Agent will have worked closely and on numerous transactions with the professionals they can recommend to you.
  • Focus practice on Real Estate – Ensure that the Real Estate Lawyer you are considering is well versed in the area of Real Estate Law. You’ll want to deal with someone who is competent and capable of handling your transaction.
  • Good standing – You can always check with the Newfoundland and Labrador Law Society  to ensure that the Lawyer you are considering is in good standing.
  • Obtain a written quote – You should always ask your prospective Lawyer for a quote of legal fees and disbursements for the transaction you are looking to have handled. Keep in mind, however, that fees can vary depending on the type of transaction.
    Ultimately you need a Real Estate Lawyer who is capable to work for you to protect your legal rights and obligations and to guide you through your transaction.

Katrina Gittens head shots 001

To learn more, you can get in touch with Katrina using the information below.

Katrina R. M. Hanlon
Barrister, Solicitor & Notary
Gittens & Associates
8 Kenna’s Hill
St. John’s, NL A1A 1H9
Tel: (709) 579-8424
Fax: (709) 738-1339
Email: khanlon@gittenslaw.com

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