Tag Archives: lawyer

What exactly am I paying for?

June 5, 2013

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I get a lot of calls from people looking for quotes on my real estate fees. I completely understand; whenever I am thinking about a big purchase, I shop around too. What I wanted to talk about today was what, exactly, you need to keep in mind when you’re doing your shopping so that you can be comparing apples to apples. Of course the base fee is an easy thing to compare, but you should also consider:

  • The lawyer’s experience
  • The percentage of the lawyer’s practice that is devoted to real estate
  • Whether you will meet the lawyer him- or herself to sign your documents
  • Whether you will be able to talk directly to the lawyer about any questions you may have before or after the closing
  • Whether the work will be done by the lawyer’s office directly or parts of it outsourced to third parties

Legal fees are a fairly small portion of your total closing costs, once you factor in realtor commissions or land transfer tax, property taxes, and moving costs. All of us want a good deal, but remember: you get what you pay for.

 

Cesia

Cesia is a real estate lawyer at Wall-Armstrong and Green, a boutique law firm in Barrie focusing on real estate and estates. When she’s not online, she can usually be found in her garden.

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The consequences of saying “no”

November 30, 2011

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Every now and then, I have a client ask me (usually mere days before closing) what will happen if they refuse to close.

Generally, it is not a good idea to refuse to close once your deal is firm. A firm offer is a binding contract, and the consequences of breaking the contract have the potential to be severe. If the other side has put any money into getting ready to close, then you can end up being responsible for those costs. This is of particular concern if you are buying a property, and the sellers have bought a new property – you may be on the hook for more than just sellers’ costs related to their own home because there are costs for the people selling to your sellers, and further on down the chain. If you are selling and you refuse to close, you may run into trouble if the buyers don’t have anywhere to go because they are selling a house.

If you aren’t sure about selling or buying, the best time to make that decision is before you have a firm offer. If you are ready to be firm on your offer, you should be prepared to close the deal.

Cesia

Cesia is a real estate lawyer at Wall-Armstrong and Green, a boutique law firm in Barrie focusing on real estate and estates. When she’s not online, she can usually be found in her garden.

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Property damage on closing

November 16, 2011

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Unfortunately, I occasionally have a client call me after a purchase has closed to let me know that there was damage in the house – a broken railing, a damaged pool filter, or even that the vendor took all of the light fixtures and curtain rods.

If you arrive at your new home and something is missing or damaged, you can always call your lawyer. He or she will review the agreement to confirm that missing items should have been left, and can follow up with the vendor’s lawyer about compensating you for repairs that you will have to make. I also recommend scheduling your final walk-through for the day before closing or the day of closing, because if something is damaged at that point, it is possible to arrange for a holdback on the vendor’s money to cover repair costs, which will make it easier for you to be reimbursed if you have to hire someone to fix damage or replace a broken item.

Cesia

Cesia is a real estate lawyer at Wall-Armstrong and Green, a boutique law firm in Barrie focusing on real estate and estates. When she’s not online, she can usually be found in her garden.

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Closing time

November 9, 2011

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In my post last week, I talked about adjustments on closing. Adjustments are one element of closing costs: the costs that you will have to pay in addition to your purchase price in order to buy your home.

There are several line items in closing costs; some are fixed, and some are variable. Some fixed costs include legal fees, registration costs and Land Transfer Tax (which is a flat percentage of the purchase price). Some variable costs include title insurance premiums and disbursements, for items such as title searches and off-title searches.

And also note: you will also have to pay closing costs when you sell, but these are typically much lower and generally are taken out of the sale proceeds, so that you will not end up being out of pocket for them.

Cesia

Cesia is a real estate lawyer at Wall-Armstrong and Green, a boutique law firm in Barrie focusing on real estate and estates. When she’s not online, she can usually be found in her garden.

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Buying tenants

October 26, 2011

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If you are purchasing a home that is currently rented out (or has an apartment that is currently rented out), there are extra precautions that you should take to ensure that the closing will go smoothly, whether you want to buy the house empty or want to keep the tenants.

If you are buying a house that is rented and intend to live there yourself, you need to be certain that the vendor has given proper notice to the tenants to ensure that they will leave on closing. If you want to keep the tenants, you will need tenant acknowledgements of the change in ownership and will want to review the tenancy agreements to be sure that you are content with the way the agreement has been set up. If you intend to keep the tenants for a time but will want to move in yourself eventually, you will also want to review the timelines in the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act so that you give proper notice. You will also want to generally review the Act to make sure that you are keeping to the obligations of a residential landlord.

Having tenants can be cost-effective, particularly for first-time buyers, but you should always ensure that you are prepared to work within the rules and obligations of being a landlord.

Cesia

Cesia is a real estate lawyer at Wall-Armstrong and Green, a boutique law firm in Barrie focusing on real estate and estates. When she’s not online, she can usually be found in her garden.

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