Buying real estate during the current market can be overwhelming. This is especially true if you are a first-time home buyer. The truth is that buying a home is a major decision and commitment financially with implications that are not always obvious.
It is typical for prospective buyers to focus on the process of finding a home, but little on the process of taking title to the home. The reality is that the role your lawyer plays is crucial in this process to protect the buyer’s interests and to ensure that there is a smooth transition at closing without any surprises.
We have a specific roadmap that we follow with all our clients when they are buying a home. Whether this is your first time buying or you are a seasoned owner, we follow the same process from start to finish in order to provide the best quality service to our clients. The process is as follows:
- We have an initial call with the Buyer. This is done by the lawyer and not a law clerk or assistant. The meeting is for the Buyer to ask questions about their specific transaction at the outset. This is also where we try to address any initial issues up front that may impact on how the transaction unfolds. We also try to provide a road map of the transaction so that the Buyer understands what to expect up front. We also review the Agreement of Purchase and Sale and help break down any confusion and highlight the key aspects of the transaction.
- We provide an initial letter as well for the Buyer to refer to which addresses what the Buyer is responsible for, such as providing mortgage instructions in a timely fashion and acquiring appropriate insurance for closing. It’s important to note that communication is key during a transaction, and we want to clarify as much as possible.
- We search title to the property and ensure that the person or entity that you are buying from has the lawful authority to sell the property. We also conduct searches for mortgages and anything else that may impact title to the property.
- Additional searches are conducted that are not on title. This includes water, gas, hydro, and tax searches. Our practice is to always order a tax certificate so there are no surprises.
- We review condominium documents if you are buying a condominium. We discuss the differences in condominium ownership in our initial phone call if this is the case.
- We review mortgage instructions and work with your broker if you have one. It is important to get this information to us as soon as possible, no later than a week before closing.
- We prepare all the necessary paperwork and financials related to the transaction. This includes working with the other lawyer and lender.
- Before closing, we have a meeting several days before closing to discuss the total amount required on closing and how the closing will be conducted. This is done either in our office or virtually.
- On the day of closing, we work with the other side to ensure that each party receives what they contracted for under the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. When the deal closes, the Buyer gets the keys which are usually in a lockbox at the property.
- When the deal is done, we prepare a final report/closing package which includes various documents which include but is not limited to a transfer/deed to the property. Following closing, the lawyer will provide the Buyer with a full report of the transaction and provide the Buyer with copies of all documents, including the transfer/deed.