When it comes to one of the, if not, biggest transaction in your lifetime, there are many experts (realtors, home inspectors, mortgage brokers, etc.) available to assist you with this purchasing a home. One of those experts is your lawyer. You may only meet with your lawyer once throughout the transaction, but they are involved quite extensively with behind the scenes work. In this article we will review some of the duties a lawyer can assist with.

1) Receive Instructions and Review of Documents

Typically in a transaction, the lawyer may not become involved until after the offer to purchase is signed and conditions (financing, home inspection, etc.) have been removed. The realtor will usually assist with the completion of these matters, then hand the transaction over to the lawyer to complete. The lawyer can be useful in reviewing these documents before signing to ensure no legal issues have been missed.

However, you may be in a situation where one or both of the parties do not have a realtor involved. If this occurs, it is always beneficial to have the lawyer involved at the outset to ensure documents are completed and that the right conditions are in place to ensure the parties are protected and eliminate potential legal issues. For example, the lawyer can assist with ensuring you have enough time to get financing in place, allow for the proper inspections to be done for the buyer, or that the deposit is protected for the seller. The lawyer can also assist with the preparation of the offer for either side.

2) Conduct the Necessary Searches

Another useful role of the lawyer is to conduct the necessary searches for the transaction. This can include searching the title to ensure there are no unforeseen registrations that need to be addressed. The lawyer can search and review the property tax information, water heater rental and/or water softener rental and adjust accordingly. By conducting these searches the lawyer can ensure all adjustments are accounted for by either side. This helps eliminate the need for the parties to have to come back after closing to adjust for missed payments, etc.

3) Prepare, Sign and Register Documents

The lawyer will also receive instructions from the purchaser’s lender to prepare, sign and register the mortgage documents. For the seller, the lawyer will prepare and attend to the signing of the transfer documents. The lawyer ensures these documents are properly prepared so that the purchaser receives the title to the property being purchased. For the purchaser, the lawyer makes sure all the lender’s conditions are satisfied and that the mortgage is properly registered on title. The lawyer will also collect the mortgage funds and ensure they are paid to the seller’s lawyer. The lawyer can work with the mortgage broker or the other lawyer to ensure that any issues that arise are corrected and the transaction closes on time.

4) Ensure Transaction Proceeds Smoothly

Finally, the lawyer is there to assist you with ensuring the transaction proceeds smoothly. As stated in the last section, the lawyer is there to address any issues that arise and deal with all parties to ensure issues are dealt with appropriately. The lawyer’s expertise is there to provide comfort to the client in one of the biggest transactions of their life. Clients are encouraged to ask questions of their lawyer to ensure that the transaction does close on time and to properly represent the client. We are here to assist you through this transaction and provide any guidance that is required.

For more information on this, or other real estate matters, please contact Jeff Norwig.

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