Does every home purchase and sale in Ontario require a lawyer?

July 2nd, 2019 by Jennifer Hetherington and Steven Huryn

Parties to a real estate Agreement of Purchase and Sale occasionally ask whether they actually need a lawyer to close the deal. The answer to that question is a resounding yes.

Historically, closing a real estate transaction in Ontario would involve lawyers attending at a Land Registry Office (LRO) to conduct title searches. On the day of completion, lawyers from both parties would meet at the LRO to exchange documents and keys and register the transfer. Today, with electronic registration, everything from title searches to transfers of land are completed with specialized software.  Only lawyers and law firms can gain access to this software, and the switch to electronic registration does not remove the requirement that a lawyer must sign the transfer of land.

When choosing a lawyer to help you complete your real estate transaction, it is important to find a lawyer experienced with real estate. Experienced real estate lawyers will understand where complications with home sales tend to arise, and will make sure that their clients’ interests are protected. Having an experienced real estate lawyer review an Agreement of Purchase and sale before it becomes firm is also a good idea, as a lawyer will often catch potential issues that a layperson will miss.  In a standard resale agreement you should consider including a clause that the agreement is subject to your lawyer’s review, and for a pre-construction condo you should have your lawyer review the contract within the statutory ten-day cooling off period.

Devry Smith Frank LLP has a dedicated real estate department, combining years of experience in real estate law to ensure that your next real estate deal goes smoothly. For further information or assistance please contact Jennifer Hetherington at 416-446-3303 or Jennifer.hetherington@devrylaw.ca

“This article is intended to inform. Its content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon by readers as such. If you require legal assistance, please see a lawyer. Each case is unique and a lawyer with good training and sound judgment can provide you with advice tailored to your specific situation and needs.”


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