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The offer to purchase is only the beginning of the complex process of buying a home.

Once the vendor has accepted your offer, your lawyer starts to work on many fronts. You can expect your lawyer to ask you many questions about the specific property you plan to purchase and how you intend to use it. Over the following weeks, your lawyer will complete a series of legal inquiries, searches of records and extensive fact checking, to make sure that, on closing, you really own your home and that you will be allowed to live there (in other words, confirming that the present use of the property is legal).

Among many responsiblities, your real estate lawyer acts as your trusted advisor. It is your lawyer's job to check various details and advise you on a wide range of matters. For example your lawyer usually will:

  • prepare and check mortgage documents and explain the terms of your mortgage
  • explain the different ways in which you can own the property if you are buying it with someone else, and the difference between being joint tenants and tenants in common
  • check the statement of adjustments to ensure that you are paying only your share of the taxes, utility and fuel bills, and other costs that have been pre-paid by the vendor (seller)
  • explain the purposes of the documents that you have to sign

To help make the transfer of ownership from vendor (seller) to you, the buyer, as smooth as possible, your lawyer may also:

  • arrange with the utility companies to have hydro, water and fuel meters read on the day of closing, and to have all future bills addressed to you
  • ensure that you have home insurance in place as of the closing date
  • hold in trust your closing funds and those provided by the morgage lender, and transfer them to the vendor to ensure the home purchase closes; and
  • arrange for you to recieve the keys to your home as soon as possible after closing

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