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Lawyers & Real Estate Transactions

An agreement to purchase property is a contract in which both buyers and sellers accept legal obligations. Consequently, both parties should consider having a lawyer advise them in the transaction.

Lawyers can assist in interpreting the legal and financial documents involved. They can help to make the transfer of property a smooth and easy one. A lawyer can provide services such as...

  • searching the title
  • searching property records
  • making sure the buyer is getting clear title
  • registering a new mortgage
  • making sure that the mortgage money is available
  • making sure the proceeds of the sale are available to the seller

In Saskatchewan, lawyers are prohibited from acting for both a builder/developer and a buyer in a new home transaction, even if the parties consent.

Lawyers protect the interests of the buyer or the seller of real estate. It is also possible to have the same lawyer represent both the buyer and the seller in the case of a residential real estate deal. There is a disadvantage to this type of arrangement if a conflict arises. In that case, the buyer and seller would each have to get their own lawyer. The lawyer who earlier acted for both of them would no longer be able to act for either of them.

It is particularly important to seek legal advice if you are purchasing or selling property...

  • in another province
  • privately
  • a rent-to-own or lease-to-own basis
  • that will be financed by the seller

Legal advice is also important if you are buying land to build on or buying property that you plan to do major renovations to.

Choosing a lawyer can be a difficult task, especially if you have never had to hire one before. When you are spending money on what may be the biggest transaction of your life, choosing someone to represent your interests is especially important.

There are many choices available, and many ways to make the decision. Sometimes a real estate agent is associated with a particular law firm, and may refer clients to them. Some people look through the yellow pages or online directories. Referrals or recommendations by friends or business associates can be a valuable resource. Whatever method you use to identify and choose a lawyer, there are a few things that you need to consider, to help ensure that you are happy with the services provided.

Value is determined by quality as well as price. When choosing a lawyer, or any other service, you need to strike a balance between the price you want to pay, and the assurance you expect for a job well done.

The price or cost of legal fees is an important consideration for many people. Certainly, no one wants to pay any more than they have to for anything, including legal services. However, it probably is useful to consider a few other factors, as well as the bottom line.

Ask questions like...

  • What exactly do the quoted fees cover? Will there be additional fees for "extra" work that may be necessary?
  • Does the lawyer have the ability or experience to do the work you require?
  • Is the lawyer a good communicator? Is the lawyer accessible or approachable, if you have any questions?
  • What degree of personal service do you want, and what degree will be offered?
  • What references does the lawyer have? Word-of-mouth often provides good information.

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PLEA gratefully acknowledges our primary core funder the Law Foundation of Saskatchewan for their continuing and generous support of our organization.