When buying a house, get a lawyer before the deal is done

This article looks at why a lawyer is a good idea when buying a house even before the deal is closed.

As the Calgary Herald reports, home sales in the city are finally starting to rebound and after a long slump many people are once again looking to buy a house. While most Canadians understand that a lawyer is a necessity when purchasing a house, most only talk to a real estate lawyer after a purchase agreement has been finalized. A lawyer, however, is somebody who should be brought into the house purchasing process as early as possible. Because of a lawyer's unique position and expertise, she can offer clients considerable protection and peace of mind when buying a home.

Why a lawyer is a necessity

A lawyer is downright necessary when closing the deal on a property. Homebuyers, after all, will need a lawyer to perform a title search, transfer funds, and register the deed. Without these tasks being completed, the house sale simply cannot go through. However, these are tasks that are typically only completed after a homebuyer has finalized a purchase agreement. What many people don't know is that a lawyer should be brought in well before the deal is closed.

Why a lawyer is a good idea

A lawyer's main job is simple: looking out for her client's best interests. A real estate agent, on the other hand, may be looking to finalize a deal quickly or looking to close at the price that will lead to the highest commission for him or her. If negotiating a sale with the seller directly then the seller is going to be looking out for his or her interests, not those of the buyer.

That's why negotiating a purchase agreement with the assistance of a lawyer is so important. The Globe and Mail points out, for example, how an unscrupulous seller may try to trick a first-time homebuyer into paying extra fees on top of the typical closing costs. While a first-time buyer may be unaware of what "normal" closing costs are, a lawyer can ensure that what is being asked for is reasonable or even legal.

Likewise, when considering a home that is for sale a buyer will want to be aware of any possible legal issues with the property, such as an illegal structure or an encroachment onto a neighbour's property. Those issues may go unnoticed by most buyers, but they could cost them thousands of dollars in the future.

Also, a lawyer can help with getting a favourable deal on financing. For example, many purchase agreements stipulate only that the offer is "conditional on financing." A lawyer can make an offer conditional on the financing desired by the buyer, so that the buyer isn't straddled by a mortgage with a higher interest rate than he or she had been planning on.

Real estate legal help

Buying a home is the biggest financial transaction that most Canadians will ever make. That's why it is so important for homebuyers to talk to a real estate lawyer as soon as possible. From identifying potential problems early on to protecting buyers from unscrupulous sales tactics, a lawyer can help homebuyers ensure their purchase goes smoothly and without any unwanted surprises.