What does a real estate lawyer actually do in Ontario?

A real estate lawyer plays a crucial role in the process of buying, selling, and financing a property in Ontario, Canada. The main goal of a real estate lawyer is to protect their clients’ interests and ensure that the transaction is completed smoothly and legally.

Here are some of the main tasks that a real estate lawyer performs in Ontario:

  1. Reviewing and drafting purchase and sale agreements: A real estate lawyer reviews the purchase and sale agreement between the buyer and seller, ensuring that all the terms and conditions of the sale are clear and legally binding. They also draft any necessary amendments to the agreement and ensure that all parties understand the terms and conditions of the sale.
  2. Conducting title searches: A real estate lawyer conducts a thorough search of the title of the property to make sure that it is free from any legal encumbrances. This includes checking for liens, mortgages, and other claims on the property, and ensuring that the seller has clear title to the property.
  3. Handling closings: The real estate lawyer is responsible for handling all aspects of the closing, including coordinating with the buyer, seller, and lender, preparing closing documents, and transferring the title from the seller to the buyer.
  4. Reviewing mortgage documents: If the buyer is obtaining financing, the real estate lawyer reviews the mortgage documents to ensure that they are legally binding and that the terms of the mortgage are favorable to the buyer.
  5. Advising on zoning and land-use issues: A real estate lawyer is knowledgeable about local zoning and land-use laws, and can advise clients on any potential issues that may arise during the transaction. They can also assist with obtaining any necessary permits or approvals for the use of the property.
  6. Assisting with disputes: If a dispute arises during the transaction, a real estate lawyer can assist in resolving the issue and protecting their client’s interests. They may also represent their client in court if necessary. However, this is not common, as most of the time, disputes are referred to a civil litigation lawyer. This referral is done because the legal skills necessary to conduct a civil litigation case are quite distinct from the professional skills of that of a real estate lawyer.
  7. Ensuring compliance with applicable laws: A real estate lawyer ensures that the transaction complies with all applicable federal, provincial, and municipal laws, including the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002, the Ontario Human Rights Code, and the Environmental Protection Act.

In conclusion, a real estate lawyer plays a crucial role in the process of buying, selling, or financing a property in Ontario. They protect their clients’ interests, ensure that the transaction is legally binding, and assist with any disputes that may arise. By hiring a real estate lawyer, clients can have peace of mind knowing that their transaction is being handled by a professional who has the knowledge and experience to ensure a successful outcome.


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