August 26th 2021
Finding the Top Real Estate Lawyers
By Arthur Favier
When you’re finalizing a home purchase or sale, there are multiple reasons you might require the services of real estate lawyers. These legal professionals assist with several aspects of property ownership transactions, from the transfer of titles to joint mortgage agreements.
And the need for legal counsel is greater than usual in the current hot market that the pandemic has spurred in real estate markets across Ontario and other populous segments of the country. Contingency clauses, breaking agreements, liability waivers, and all manner of updated legal documents have become the new norm over the last 18 months.
For those looking to buy, sell, and even lease property within the Greater Toronto Area, Southwestern Ontario, and other major hubs across the nation, finding the top real estate lawyers to represent you should be priority number one.
Real estate lawyers in Toronto and Ontario
It’s no secret that Toronto is one of the most competitive real estate markets in the country. It’s been growing steadily for nearly a quarter of a century and while this has some experts concerned about looming market corrections, locals and newcomers alike have always gravitated towards this Canadian hotspot. The demand for Toronto real estate also seems to be spilling over into other areas of the province like the GTA and Southwestern Ontario.
If you’re hoping to navigate the turbulent waters of Ontario real estate, particularly in places like Toronto, it’s necessary to invest in the services of not only quality realtors, but also real estate lawyers. This subset of legal professionals are necessary when it comes to things like closing a sale, transferring titles, and finalizing ownership.
What a real estate lawyer Can Do For You
Legal professionals who specialize in real estate can offer a range of services or specialize in particular subsets of property and building law. From handling your Agreement of Purchase to drafting additional documentation, there are many ways in which real estate lawyers factor into your home buying plans. Here are some of the main services that real estate lawyers in Toronto and across Ontario may provide for you:
- Buying and selling real estate
- Mortgage transactions
- Ownership and title transfers
- Notarizing and commissioning
- Property assignment
- Joint ventures and lease agreements
- Wills and power of attorney
- Estates and probate
Questions to ask yourself before selecting a Toronto real estate lawyer
As is the case with any professional that you go to for financial or legal advice, picking a real estate lawyer to represent you is an incredibly important part of the process. Aside from standard questions about the kinds of legal services they provide and how much these services cost, here are some other questions that will help you find the best Toronto real estate lawyers for you.
How long have they been practicing or involved in real estate law?
Ideally, you’ll find yourself a legal professional who has a significant track record in navigating the various avenues associated with real estate law. Not only does this ensure a high quality of work, but it also means that they’re more experienced with the nuances of provincial real estate law and any region specifics.
How much experience do they have working in the given municipality, city, or province?
While English common law is the basis for our real estate laws in Canada, the exact regulations pertaining to housing, ownership, and the transfer of property are determined at the provincial level. This means that you’ll want to make absolutely sure that your real estate lawyer is proficient in navigating the legal framework of your province. In some cases, there are also municipal regulations and other local factors that are relevant to your real estate needs.
Do they deal with a particular type of property?
There are many different options when it comes to investing in real estate in Ontario. There are resale homes, new builds, semi-detached, multi-tenant buildings, townhome complexes, and, of course, condominiums. Each of these different structure classifications will have slightly different protocols when it comes to dealing with legal matters. Whether you require condo agreements and estoppel certificates or standard resale home agreements, your legal professional should be knowledgeable on the requisite processes.
Which subsection of real estate do they specialize in?
As you can see from the aforementioned list of duties, real estate lawyers can help you navigate a variety of different issues. Some real estate agents specialize in a specific subset of property-related legal services, such as wills and power of attorney. Others handle the more standard aspects of the home buying process like drafting documents, signing agreements, and performing a title search. You’ll want to check all available resources, including websites, social platforms, and any free consultations available to ensure that the real estate lawyer is right for you.
Partnering with a real estate lawyer in Toronto
The pandemic is causing wholesale changes across multiple industries, and property law is no exception. Virtual viewings, video conferences, online signing of documents, and innovative retainer agreements are becoming the norm now that traditional sit-downs are becoming less and less common (for the time being at least). The best real estate lawyers work at firms or offices that accommodate the changing market landscape and all the different technological systems that are cropping up to fill in service gaps.
At the end of the day, you want to approach the process of partnering with a real estate lawyer the same way you conduct the search for your dream house: thoroughly and objectively. Although interpersonal connection does matter to a certain degree, you also need to make sure that they’re qualified in the necessary real estate domains. Between government agencies, law firms, and other real estate professionals, there is a wealth of information out there for you to educate yourself further on the ins and outs of selecting Toronto real estate lawyers. Make sure you take advantage of all the great free resources out there!