What Is Conveyancing?
Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring the title to a property from the seller to the purchaser in a real estate transaction. It is a crucial aspect in the buying, selling or transferring of real estate and typically occurs after you’ve already signed a contract to purchase or sell a property. While it may not be as exciting as finding and viewing your dream home, conveyancing is just as important because the title to a property needs to change ownership to make the transfer official. That’s why it’s also important to have an experienced real estate legal professional handle the conveyancing process on your behalf. A lawyer’s legal experience and training in real estate law can help protect your interests and to ensure that the transfer of ownership is completed legally and properly.
The Process of Conveyancing
When selling real estate, conveyancing typically involves the following steps:
Finding and retaining a property lawyer to handle the legal process on your behalf.
Reviewing the terms of the contract of sale between the buyer and yourself (the seller) including price, the completion date and other material terms that may affect your closing.
Review the title search to see what liens, mortgages or charges need to be removed or dealt with.
Reviewing the documents prepared by the purchaser’s legal representative and witnessing your signature on these conveyancing documents including the Form A transfer, explaining the vendor statement of adjustments and the final sale proceeds that you as the seller will be receiving.
Tending to the transferring of ownership of the property to the buyer and receiving the sale proceeds in trust, and releasing the net sale proceeds to you.
When buying real estate, the conveyancing process is slightly more complicated and involves the following:
Instruct your property lawyer to handle the legal process on your behalf.
Reviewing the contract of sale and conducting the necessary title searches to ensure the property is free from liens or making necessary arrangements to remove these liens.
Preparing the transfer documents, which will be signed by the seller and transferred to you (the buyer).
Receiving your purchase funds by bank draft and arranging the mortgage funding with your bank if you have a mortgage.
Registering the Form A transfer at the land title office to officially transfer the ownership of the property to you (the buyer), and sending the sale proceeds to the seller’s lawyer.
The lawyer’s role in due diligence
Your real estate lawyer must perform due diligence to protect you in the transaction. Just as you would not want to purchase a car with a lien attached, a real estate lawyer will carry out searches such as title searches, property tax searches and even strata-related searches if applicable. As a purchaser, once you purchase a property, you are then responsible for all liens, strata arrears or property tax arrears that may attach to the property, so it is your lawyer’s job to conduct his due diligence to ensure that any such liabilities are handled properly, in most cases by the seller, so that you get a clean and clear title subject to your own mortgage if any. Other examples may include ensuring sufficient holdbacks so that is protected from strata liens or even from the CRA if the seller is a non-resident.
The objective of due diligence in conveyancing is to ensure that you get what you bargained for and that your interests as a bona fide purchaser for value are protected throughout.
Your Real Estate and Property Law Lawyer
The experienced team of real estate lawyers at Bernard Lau & Co. has over a decade of experience to guide you through your conveyancing process. We aim to assist clients to undergo the conveyancing process as smoothly, and efficiently as possible and to provide support through all the stages of your transaction while protecting your interests and minimizing legal risks and disputes. While some transactions may be contentious, we have the experience to provide legal support and advice to protect your interests throughout the process.
Buying property represents a major milestone in many people’s lives and can often symbolize stability and security. Property ownership often brings a sense of pride and accomplishment, provides a space you can call your own and can represent a significant investment in your future.
However, property owners must be mindful of title fraud. The recent high profile news reports of fraudsters stealing homes in Toronto and in BC have caused much anxiety to homeowners everywhere.
So what is title fraud? Title fraud can mean many things, but in general, it is a type of fraud that typically involves the fraudulent sale of a home or refinancing of a property that does not belong to the fraudster who poses as the real owner. It can result in the rightful owners losing their property or being encumbered with a mortgage that is not their own. Title fraud often goes undetected until it is too late – so let’s look at how you can safeguard your property and protect yourself from title fraud.
What Is Title Fraud?
Title fraud is a type of real estate fraud in which someone falsely claims ownership of a property and then sells or uses it as security for a mortgage loan. Title fraud can be committed in several ways, including:
impersonating the rightful owner and selling the property without their knowledge or consent
impersonating the rightful owner to borrow money secured against property to which the fraudster does not actually own
creating false documents to support the fraudster’s claim to ownership for nefarious purposes
falsifying the history of the property to make it appear that it has a clear title when it has liens or outstanding debts on title
fabricating a chain of title to make it look like the fraudster has a legitimate claim to the property
How Can I Protect Myself from Title Fraud?
You would think that the individuals most vulnerable to title fraud are typically first-time homebuyers, the elderly, and those unfamiliar with the real estate purchasing process. While it’s true that these groups can be more susceptible to these scams, the reality is that the risk exists for all homeowners regardless of your experience or your background.
Here are some tips for protecting yourself and your loved ones against title fraud:
Conduct a thorough and current title search to verify ownership information before purchasing a property. It’s essential to verify the authenticity of the title deed and any other related documents. This can include searching public records and checking for liens or encumbrances and obtaining a title search from the BC Land Title Office.
Engage a qualified real estate lawyer to handle the transfer of title and perform due diligence. Legal professionals have experience to help verify the authenticity of title documents and to protect your interests during the process.
Keep your personal information secure to prevent fraudsters from using it to commit title fraud. That includes your social insurance number, passport information and home address.
Regularly monitor your credit report to detect any unauthorized activity, such as the opening of a new bank account or line of credit in your name which may suggest that your financial information has been compromised.
Purchasing title insurance from a legal professional to compensate you in case you suffer a loss due to title fraud. It’s not too late to buy a policy even if you’ve owned the property for a few years now.
You can also apply to the land title office to physically remove the title itself, known as the ‘duplicate title’ but then you’re responsible for storing the duplicate title in a safe place, and you’ll need to re-deposit the duplicate title when you want to sell or deal with the property. If the duplicate title is removed, transactions involving the home cannot take place, however if you lose the duplicate title, you’ll have to go through a very burdensome process to replace it.
Sign up for ‘alerts’ on Google or other search engines which will alert you if there are news about your home address. Many properties listed for sale will be published on a realty webpage, and an alert can give you advanced warning if someone tries to list your property, but this method is not fool-proof and is definitely not a replacement for title insurance which protects a lot more than just a home being fraudulently sold. For example, if a fraudster took out a mortgage and borrowed money against your home, that would likely not trigger a google alert and you may still suffer a loss.
What is the impact to innocent home buyers who purchase a home from a fraudster?
For now, the legal impact on buyers is, surprisingly, muted. That’s because for innocent buyers who paid fair market value for their homes, their rights as homeowners will in most cases be preserved once they register on title under the current land title system known as the Torrens System. This provides certainty of ownership to buyers, as long as they were not part of the fraud, and as long as they paid a fair price their home, that they have the assurance that the home usually cannot be taken away from them just because a fraudster pretending to be the seller sold it to them. In other words, this means that registration of the buyer’s ownership provides certainty and is conclusive of their ownership rights, a concept known in law as ‘indefeasible title’ . However, this also means it’s more difficult for the original owners who are victims of fraud, to get their title back once it is registered to an innocent home purchaser.
If the buyers paid fair and good money for the house, in most cases, they would be the ones to suffer the loss if they simply gave the house back to the seller, unless they were compensated. However, in most cases, the seller is not going to want to pay additional monies to re-purchase their own house from the innocent buyer. In theory, the Land Title Office in BC has an insurance fund known as the ‘Assurance Fund’ >which should reimburse the owners in case of property fraud. However, in practice, this route is often time consuming, cumbersome, and the owners face significant hurdles to go through the process to get fully compensated from the Assurance Fund. Buyers are encouraged to purchase private insurance known as ‘title insurance’ which will often compensate the buyers if they suffer any loss as a result of title fraud. Title insurance can be purchased through a lawyer or notary public, and provides more protection in the form of financial compensation to title insurance policy-holders affected by the fraud which could include not just individuals but also the banks who lend mortgages registered against a fraudulent title.
Can owners who are defrauded get their house back?
going back to the concept of ‘indefeasible title’, it may be difficult for the original owners to ‘get their properties back’ as long as the buyers were not part of the fraud, and paid fair market value for the properties. Sellers could in theory re-purchase the property back from the innocent buyers with the financial compensation from title insurance, but there is no guarantee that the buyers would be willing to re-sell the house back to the seller. Of course, each case has to be looked at on a case-by-case basis, and if the buyers did in fact collude or co-operate knowingly with a fraudster to purchase the property, then the defrauded homeowner could take the matter to the BC Supreme Court, but that could still involve lawyers and potentially a trial, hence the necessity of title insurance to potentially pay for the legal expense of doing so.
Real Estate Lawyers in Richmond, British Columbia
If you suspect that you are a victim of title fraud, report to the police immediately and consult a real estate lawyer. Reinstating ownership of a property title can be time-consuming and often times, you must act quickly. At Bernard Lau & Co., we have experience to advise you on protecting yourself from title fraud. If you’d like to learn more about title fraud or would like to order title insurance, call us at 604.285.5242 or complete our contact form to arrange a consultation.
Especially in today’s rising interest rate environment, it’s not always easy to sell a house. Negotiations occasionally fall through even after a contract has been signed. Therefore, it’s essential to hire a real estate lawyer to review and draft legal documents, explain your purchase and sell agreement, look out for your best interests and represent you during the transaction. The reputable lawyers at Bernard Lau and Co. will advise you on your legal rights and obligations under the purchase agreement.
Reasons a Buyer May Withdraw from a Transaction
Buyers might back out of real estate transactions for a number of reasons, including:
Financing problems: Unforeseen changes in buyers’ financial circumstances, like job losses or significant decreases in income, can lead to collapsing transactions.
Property issues: During inspections, buyers may discover issues with the property. These can include structural, mechanical or environmental problems such as oil tank discoveries.
Market conditions: Buyers may reconsider the purchase due to market conditions. For example, if the market has cooled, buyers may no longer want to purchase the property at the agreed-upon price as they may suffer from buyer’s remorse.
Cold Feet: Buyers can get nervous about making large purchases and back out of the transaction for unrelated or unforeseeable reasons.
Better deals: If buyers find a property they prefer to the one they’re contracted to purchase or find a similar property at a lower price, they may try to terminate the contract.
How to Protect Yourself During a Real Estate Transaction
There are a few ways sellers can protect themselves in case of or reduce the risk of collapsing transactions. They include:
Requesting a deposit
Requesting a deposit or earnest money from the buyer can protect you from potential financial losses if they back out of the transaction. You can use the deposit as compensation for costs incurred during the transaction or any losses that may arise due to the transaction falling through. You may even ask for the deposit to be paid directly to you as the seller, or ask the buyer to increase the deposit, although be careful asking for too much – too large of a deposit may not be enforceable.
Keeping detailed records
Maintain detailed records of all correspondence and transactions between you and the buyer and his realtor. These records can include emails, text messages and other forms of communication. If a dispute arises, they can help resolve the issue by giving clarity to the circumstances that precipitate a collapsing transaction and sufficient evidence may also deter a buyer from considering backing out of the transaction if it’s clear that he had no legitimate grounds for doing so but simply changed his mind.
Buyers may often try to back out of a contract by claiming that the seller was not truthful to him in describing the property by playing down certain risks or even outright lying about the condition of the property. Oftentimes, a seller’s best defence is to be honest about the state of the property and to respond truthfully if any concerns from the buyer are raised. That being said, a seller usually has no obligation to disclose absolutely everything that he knows about the property due to the principle of caveat emptor (or buyer beware). Sellers have an obligation to disclose latent material defects but it can be tricky to know what constitutes such a defect that must be disclosed. Consult with your lawyer if you are unsure about whether certain disclosures are necessary.
Contacting a lawyer
You should immediately seek legal advice if a buyer backs out of the transaction. An experienced property law lawyer can guide you through the legal process and ensure your rights are protected. They can also help you navigate the dispute resolution process and represent your interests in negotiations or court. Furthermore, they’ll identify and mitigate legal risks arising from the transaction.
Are You Looking for a Real Estate Lawyer in Richmond and Metro Vancouver, BC?
If you’re a property seller dealing with a collapsing transaction, contact Bernard Lau and Co.
Our experienced lawyers will review your purchase agreement and all communication between you and the buyer. They will explore all options to get the transaction back on track and protect your interests if it falls through.
It can be exciting when as a buyer, your offer to purchase your dream home is accepted. However, that excitement can turn into frustration, anxiety and fear if the seller changes his mind and decides no longer to hold to his end of the bargain to complete the transaction. Although there are various legal remedies available to innocent parties in collapsing transactions, figuring out what to do when a transaction fails can be exhausting, frustrating and fraught with risk. When the seller doesn’t comply with the terms of your agreement, it’s extremely important that you immediately obtain legal advice to evaluate the situation carefully before deciding on the next step. The timely hiring of a lawyer with experience handling collapsing real estate transactions can help ensure that your legal rights are protected during this critical period.
Why Would a Seller Back Out from a Transaction?
A seller might back out of a real estate transaction because they:
changed their mind about selling the property;
receive a better offer from another buyer;
encounter financial difficulties preventing them from completing the sale;
learn that the property has unexpected problems or defects they don’t want to fix, or
have other personal reasons that prevent or discourage them from completing the sale.
How Can You Protect Your Interests During a Real Estate Transaction?
There are some general steps you can take in the event of a collapsing transaction. They include:
Reviewing the terms of the sale
Before signing the agreement, thoroughly read each page and seek legal advice from a real estate professional to safeguard your interests. Check the terms of the sale agreement to see if there are any provisions for what happens in the event of collapsing transactions. Make sure you understand the legal rights and obligations of both parties to the contract so that you’re aware of what you are entitled to, and what you are obligated to do. Reviewing the contract with a lawyer ensures that the contract reflects what you agreed on and so you won’t be caught off-guard.
How Can a Lawyer Safeguard Your Interests During a Real Estate Transaction?
Filing a lien against the Property
If you have a valid contract and you insist on purchasing the property, one of the first steps you should discuss with your lawyer is preserving the property so that it is not simply sold or transferred to somebody else. Your lawyer may advise you to file a lien known as a Certificate of Pending Litigation to freeze the property and alert other parties that the property is tied up in litigation. This can help ensure that until the dispute is resolved, the property will remain available and under the seller’s name so that hopefully, the transaction may continue in the future.
Suing for specific performance
In addition to filing a lien, you as a buyer may also ask for a remedy known as “Specific performance”. This is a remedy that a buyer may ask for when a seller refuses to complete a contract but insist that the seller carry out his performance of the contract. The idea behind the specific performance is that monetary compensation for a particular breach of the contract won’t always be sufficient. After all, if it’s your dream home, you may not be able to find a replacement so easily. However, specific performance is not easily granted so your lawyer should assess whether there are good grounds to claim this as a remedy.
Suing for damages
Damages that the buyer incurs due to the seller’s breach of contract or misrepresentation may be claimed by the buyer. Damage claims may include expenses such as closing costs associated with the failed transaction, moving and storage costs, additional property or rental costs, interest due or lost because of the breach and professional fees. Your lawyer will be able to consult you for the different types and quantum of damages that you may claim, some of which may not be so immediately obvious.
Seeking legal advice
If you’re concerned about protecting your legal rights under a collapsing transaction, seek legal advice from a qualified lawyer. They can help you understand your rights and advise you on the best actions.
Are You Looking for a Real Estate Lawyer in Richmond and Metro Vancouver, BC?
If you bought a property and are dealing with a collapsed transaction, contact us at Bernard Lau and Co.
We can advise you at every stage of the transaction, from negotiating the details of the contract of purchase and sale to settling disagreements during closing.
When buying a home, one of the most important legal steps is for your lawyer to ensure who holds title to the property. This title verification is often done by way of a title search, and can be certified by a document known as the State of Title Certificate, which is simply a certified copy of the title search. In short, property ownership, whether commercial or residential, can be proven by a title or a state of title certificate. A real estate lawyer can confirm legal ownership by conducting a title search on your behalf so that the registered owner is consistent with the name of the seller on any contract of purchase and sale for that property. Sometimes the legal name on a title search may not always correspond with that owner having beneficial ownership of the property, such as in the care of a bare trust relationship, but that is beyond the scope of this article and you should obtain independent legal advice on this issue if you have any concerns.
What Is a Title?
A title shows the legal rights of ownership of real property consisting of land and buildings on the property. In simple terms, having title often provides the title holder with a bundle of rights, including:
Conveyance rights: This refers to the transfer of title or ownership of property from one person (the seller) to another (the buyer).
Disposition or collateral rights: The title holder often has a right to refinance, gift or transfer ownership of their property to someone else.
Exclusive use: The property owner is often entitled to utilize, occupy and enjoy the property or to allow others to do the same.
Types of Title
A title can be held by one or several persons. A single owner will hold sole title. However, multiple owners who hold title to the same real property can be categorized as either joint tenancy or tenancy in common.
Joint tenancy refers to two or more individuals who hold an equal percentage of interest in a property. Their title rights are equally shared. If an owner dies, the property in many cases, will transfer to the surviving joint owners.
Tenancy in common
Tenancy in common allows two or more people to hold equal or unequal percentages of legal ownership in a property. If one tenant in common owner dies, that share passes in accordance with the deceased’s Will or under the laws of intestacy if there is no Will, rather than automatically to the other surviving owner.
A real estate lawyer can advise you on your property ownership rights and discuss with you some of your options to hold title. Remember, title can be a complicated legal issue and the name you see registered on a title search may not always equate to that individual or company actually holding the beneficial ownership of that particular property, such as in the case of a trust relationship that may not be visible in a title search. Accordingly, if you have questions or concerns about title, it is best that you consult with a legal professional to examine title on a case by case basis since each set of circumstances behind title ownership are unique.
What Is a State of Title Certificate?
A state of title certificate is a certified copy of the title usually issued by the province or the land title office. This legal document identifies the legal owner of that property. The certificate lists key identifiers, including the property’s legal description and parcel identifying number (PID), the legal owner(s) name and mailing address, and any outstanding liens or encumbrances.
Real Estate Lawyer in Richmond, BC
Bernard Lau and Co. would be happy to provide legal advice on real estate law or if you have any questions about title ownership.
Buying a house is one of the biggest investments you will make in life. Whether it’s your first home purchase or your fifth, there are numerous responsibilities that come with a newly bought home.
While it may feel overwhelming – as well as exciting – it’s important to ensure that you and your new home are well protected. Although most of us know about fire insurance and homeowner’s insurance to protect our home’s physical structure and personal contents, it’s important not to forget about insurance coverage for our property’s title, which is just as important but more easily overlooked. One of the ways this is done is through title insurance.
What Is Title Insurance?
First, it’s necessary to understand what title insurance is. “Title” refers to the property’s ownership, while “title insurance” is a form of insurance that protects against risks to your title.
Title insurance can oftentimes protect both lenders and homebuyers against loss or damage occurring from illegal liens, encumbrances, or defects in a property’s title. Common claims filed against a title are tax liens, builder’s liens, certificates of pending litigation, and encumbrances such as mortgage loans, and home equity lines of credit (HELOC).
It’s essential to learn as much as you can before making such a substantial purchase. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to consult an experienced real estate lawyer about your specific situation. To get you started, here are some of the most significant benefits of title insurance.
Benefits of Title Insurance for the Homeowner
Title insurance can protect you for as long as you own the property. It protects against a number of risks. These risks may include:
Encroachments that would be disclosed by a new survey
For example, title insurance protects you if a neighbour’s deck is being partly situated on your land. Title insurance also covers encroachment issues such as if your backyard shed is actually on your neighbor’s property and must be removed. If the encroachment cannot be removed for safety reasons (such as a retaining wall), then you may need to compensate your neighbour for the encroachment, and title insurance may provide coverage for such costs.
Not having a survey
Although having a survey is advisable, title insurance can offer legal protection in lieu of a survey by transferring any risks that may have been disclosed by a survey, to the title insurer with respect to defects in title and other defects such as encroachments.
Someone other than the homeowner having interest
For example, a previous owner of the property not being properly discharged from title or a previous owner claiming a beneficial interest or unregistered title to the Property.
Liens from contractors, taxing entities or previous lenders
Title insurance can protect homeowners from charges accrued by previous owners. For example, if the former owner failed to pay municipal or school taxes and the tax authorities file a tax lien on title, title insurance may protect the new owner from title defects and unpaid tax liens or assessments. If previous mortgages or charges by lenders of the previous owner remain on title, title insurance may cover the costs associated with discharging these liens from title.
Forgery or fraud
Title fraud, which occurs when a person uses false identification to impersonate you to obtain a mortgage or sell the home without you knowing, is one of the more common risks that can be addressed by title insurance. Such consequences can be devastating and recovery through the Courts or other means without title insurance can be time-consuming, stressful and costly.
Title Insurance vs. Homeowners’ Insurance
Some homeowners assume that title insurance is included within a home insurance policy. Because of this misunderstanding, an alarming number of Canadians today do not have title insurance.
While home insurance may protect homeowners from unexpected circumstances that occur on or against their property or its contents, such as fire or earthquakes, title insurance protects the homebuyer from unexpected circumstances that affect the title to the property, such as financial loss from title fraud or other issues. The title insurance’s coverage is often less tangible and inconspicuous compared with the physical damage that a fire may cause, but the financial consequences of title fraud or a fraudulent mortgage registered against your property may be even more severe.
Fortunately, unlike home insurance, title insurance is a one-time premium that is typically purchased at the same time as the property. However, title insurance can also be purchased by existing homeowners who already own their property.
Are You Looking For a Real Estate Lawyer?
Title insurance can only be purchased through legal professional. If you, or someone you know, is looking for a real estate lawyer or would like more information on ordering title insurance, contact Bernard Lau and Co. Our knowledgeable and experienced team can provide personalized advice on a case-by-case basis.
To help protect buyers in the real estate market, the BC Government is enacting a mandatory three-day Homebuyer Protection Period (HPP). This process, previously called the three-day “cooling off period,” becomes effective on January 1, 2023.
Some people are unclear about how this works and the effect it may have on the housing market. If you have questions, contact the legal team at Bernard Lau and Co. to request a consultation.
Here is everything you need to know about the HPP/three-day cooling-off period.
What Is the New Three-Day Cooling Period?
The HPP, or three-day “cooling off period,” is a safety net for buyers to conduct their due diligence and re-consider their offer before their offer becomes binding. During these three days, potential homebuyers can perform due diligence such as scheduling inspections, confirm financing and decide whether to proceed with the purchase of the property.
However, to make things more fair to the seller, certain fees are payable if buyers make the decision to back out of a sale during the cooling period that is unrelated to any subject-clauses:
Buyers wishing back out of a sale must pay 0.25 percent of the purchase price, or $250 for every $100,000 of the price. This fee helps balance the interests of both the buyers and the sellers by compensating the seller in the event an accepted offer falls through, while preserving the buyer protection mechanism at a small cost to the buyer.
Backing Out of a Deal during the Cooling Period
Homebuyers who no longer wish to purchase the property during the three-day cooling period should serve the seller with a written rescission notice in at least one of the following forms:
email with read receipt
The rescission notice must include:
names and signatures of buyer
name of the seller(s)
address and description of the property
date of notice
Note: Buyers will still be able to make offers conditional on home inspections or financing at any time. The Homebuyer Protection Period does not prevent buyers and sellers from negotiating the inclusion of traditional subject conditions and removal periods in their contracts. If subject conditions exist in a contract and are not waived, buyers could potentially walk away from accepted contracts without needing to pay the 0.25% penalty.
Your Real Estate Lawyer in Richmond
The 3 day cooling period is still very new and has not been implemented yet. Accordingly, there will be more answers in the coming months as the cooling period comes into effect. This article is only for information and reference purposes. You should not rely on any information in this article before consulting a lawyer or other qualified professional. Bernard Lau and Co. and its principals will not be liable for any damages resulting from the use of the information and you should obtain independent legal advice prior to acting on the basis of any information in this article.
The accomplished legal team at Bernard Lau and Co. can help you with your next home sale or purchase. Our team has the real estate and litigation experience to guide you through all stages of your real estate transaction, from negotiating the terms of the Contract of Purchase to collapsing deals.
‘Acted with malice’: B.C. man’s negative reviews on Google, Yelp cost him $90,000 in defamation case
A disgruntled customer who was found to have defamed a B.C. wood products company in his Google and Yelp reviews has been ordered by a judge to pay $90,000 in damages.
Buying a house is one of the most significant and costly purchases you will ever make. Because buying a house is often a long-term investment that can cost you a considerable part of your savings, you may want to ensure that you consult the proper real estate professionals before you commit to anything. Besides a real estate agent, hiring a real estate lawyer is also recommended.
Hiring a real estate lawyer is more than just hiring someone to read the fine print: a real estate lawyer can help safeguard your rights and interests before you commit yourself to a significant transaction such as a home purchase or sale. In this article, we discuss why you should consider hiring a real estate lawyer before you make or accept a real estate offer to purchase or sell your home.
1. A lawyer can help safeguard your interests
Just like a real estate agent, a real estate lawyer can help you safeguard your rights while buying or selling a house, but in different ways. While a real estate agent can help you find your dream house and negotiate a good price, a lawyer is trained to give you legal advice and can spot or address legal issues that may arise that a real estate agent may not be trained to do. A real estate lawyer works for you during the real estate process, representing your interests, and negotiating legal terms on your behalf. Your lawyer can assist you in navigating the complexities of real estate transactions and can function as a safeguard. Just like real estate agents, lawyers are obligated to act in your best interests and can help to give you additional peace of mind as you take the next step toward homeownership.
2. A lawyer can increase transparency
Someone needs to read all the documents and comprehend their contents before you sign them and agree to their terms. Hiring a real estate lawyer to review your real estate agreements and documents and aid in negotiations from the start of your real estate transaction can help ensure transparency so that you know what the transaction entails. You may rely on your lawyer to explain complex legalese, advise you on your legal rights and obligations, and ensure that your needs are properly communicated, represented, and documented during this process before you sign on the dotted line.
3. Real estate lawyers have legal experience
Your real estate lawyer may have experience handling a variety of real estate transactions. They should have a breadth of knowledge in real estate transactions, and they should thoroughly understand real estate laws that may help identify pitfalls or other legal issues that you may not have considered. It’s highly recommended to have legal support to help you navigate the real estate transaction and to minimize your legal risks in your real estate transaction.
4. A lawyer can help protect you from financial loss
A real estate lawyer can help protect you against financial loss. For example, if the house is discovered to have severe problems, such as mold, a leaky roof, or even an oil tank in the yard, a sales contract without legal protection clauses addressing these problems can be quite costly for the buyer. Engaging a real estate lawyer can help protect you through their suggestions of various legal options that you can consider before you complete the transaction. A real estate lawyer may even help negotiate the inclusion of the terms of sale in the contract so that the buyer can be protected if problems are discovered. The earlier you act, the more options you may have to remedy these problems. As the Latin saying goes in real estate law, it’s a caveat emptor, or buyer beware.
Are you looking for a real estate lawyer in Richmond?
If you are looking for a real estate lawyer in Richmond, contact us at Bernard Lau and Co. Our team is ready to answer your questions, help you resolve real estate legal issues, and assist you in your next real estate transaction.
Real estate purchases are complex transactions that involve several steps. The purchase and sale agreement, or contract, is often the central document prepared for the sale. It outlines key terms, such as sale price, for both the buyer and seller. This document is legally binding and should be reviewed carefully before signing.
Given the risk involved in such a substantial investment, you may want to seek advice from a professional with knowledge of and experience in real estate. That’s where a real estate lawyer comes in. Without consulting a lawyer, you could, for example, make a deposit payment on your dream home and commit yourself to the property before you have taken legal steps in the contract to protect yourself. Remember, a contract is a negotiable document between the buyer and the seller, and you may want to be aware of legal options that you have available to you before you commit to the transaction. Real estate lawyers can help you reduce the risk of buyer’s remorse by advising you of certain terms that you may wish to be aware of or to include in the contract that can provide assurance to you even after the property completes and transfers to your name.
Here are some reasons to consult a real estate lawyer before signing your contractꓽ
A real estate lawyer protects your interests
The most important reason to get a lawyer to review your contract is that your legal advisor looks out for your interests. A lawyer can explain any legal ambiguities and intricate details which may be confusing. Understanding the contract will help you to advocate for better terms. A lawyer also ensures that the conditions are fair to you and help protect your investment. While a real estate agent can help you find your dream home, your real estate lawyer can help you view the home from a legal and more objective perspective.
Real estate lawyers’ consultation fees are likely less expensive than the costs of negotiation and litigation if problems crop up after the completion. The cost of having your agreement reviewed beforehand is significantly lower than the time and expense that you may need to incur after you’ve already committed to purchasing the property.
Furthermore, real estate purchases typically involve large sums of money. Costly mistakes can arise if the transaction is not properly conducted. A lawyer helps ensure that the contract includes contingencies to help you to avoid these mistakes. These contingencies may include your right to inspection and appraisal, financing, or even a review of the property’s history and strata minutes.
Having your real estate contract reviewed thoroughly before signing helps you identify possible risks and helps to prevent surprises later in the process. Real estate lawyers ensure that judgments on title or title defects are appropriately disclosed, helping to mitigate the risks involved. Your real estate lawyer may suggest certain steps to take in order to reduce the risk of existing issues such as the discovery of an oil tank, roof leakages, or anything significant which may impact the value and liveability of your property after the completion. Retaining a real estate lawyer to review your contract will help you understand what you’re getting with the purchase and may help reduce the risk of future litigation.
Peace of mind
Real estate is the largest investment many people make in their lives. Given the size of the investment, naturally, it can be a stressful process. Having someone who can review the paperwork and provide advice and guidance helps mitigate this stress. Although a real estate lawyer isn’t always required for a property purchase, it is beneficial to have a legal advisor to explain the legal complexities of the property transaction.
Buying or selling property in Vancouver
When buying or selling property, the benefits of having a good real estate lawyer are innumerable. If you are buying or selling property and seeking legal advice or an office to help with your conveyance transaction, contact Bernard Lau & Co. Our team of legal professionals will provide guidance and protect your interests. Our firm has a strong reputation for delivering high client value. Let us help you achieve your real estate dreams. Contact our office at (604) 285-5240 to schedule a consultation today.