Put simply: the SOONER the BETTER
The first professional people think to call when buying or selling a home is a real estate agent. Only later, typically once a FIRM AGREEMENT is signed, will a lawyer be brought into the process. This is understandable, but it overlooks the advantages of having a real estate lawyer involved in the process prior to a signing a binding agreement.
Most often, people will avoid speaking with a lawyer due to a fear that it will be costly and time consuming. This is short sighted and not entirely accurate. Most often, lawyers’ prices are flat fee for real estate transaction. While there may be a minor increase to have a lawyer review and assist with the contract, the total cost is relatively nominal to the risk buyers and sellers may be exposed to.
For example, an agreement to purchase a new build can often be 40 to 50 pages in length. These contracts can include clauses that put buyers at risk – such as being responsible for a price increase due to higher costs for input supplies!
Another example of why you may need to contact a real estate lawyer early in a transaction can be seen in the purchase of a condominium property. Even if the closing date agreed to in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale is several months or more away, the agreement will occasionally be conditional upon the purchaser’s lawyer obtaining and reviewing the status certificate for the condominium.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of why it is often better to contact a real estate lawyer sooner than later in the transaction. Real estate lawyers have a duty of due diligence to their clients.
By contacting a real estate lawyer early in the process of a purchase or sale, common missteps or delays may more easily be avoided.
If you are buying or selling a home in Ontario and would like a legal opinion before you bind yourself to an agreement, feel free to contact us at [email protected] or 519-997-3775.
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