Do I need a Lawyer? How do I select a Lawyer?

Do I need a Lawyer to buy, sell, or mortgage my home?

Although it is sometimes possible to represent yourself in simple legal matters, there are advantages to retaining the services of a Lawyer experienced in Real Estate matters.  Just because you can change the oil in your own car or just because you can prepare a meal, it does not mean that you should.  It may not be the most effective use of your time. It may become messy.  There may be other things you would rather do.

A Lawyer experienced in Real Estate matters:

  • Will be able to obtain online a copy of the Title to the property being purchased or sold;
  • Will be able to search online the amount of property taxes and determine whether they have been paid;
  • Will make the appropriate adjustments to the purchase price for prepaid or unpaid charges such as property taxes and condominium fees;
  • Will comply with the usually extensive and complex instructions from the mortgage lender (if you are purchasing and obtaining a new mortgage);
  • Will handle the exchange of funds with the other party’s Lawyer under appropriate trust conditions, whether you are buying or selling; and
  • Will handle the post-closing matters to obtain and deliver a certificate of title subject only to permitted encumbrances.

In addition, an experienced Lawyer will explain to you and guide you through the process in a seamless manner, and will help to complete the transaction on time and without hassle.  Most importantly, an experienced Lawyer will advocate your success in negotiations with other parties and will avoid irreparable and costly errors.

The purchase or sale of a home is a major transaction.  Can you afford NOT to hire a Lawyer to best represent your interests?


How do I select a Lawyer?

One of the best ways to select a Lawyer is through recommendations from people you trust.  However, make sure that the friends which you are consulting are actually recommending a Lawyer which they have used and who has experience in the area of law in which you are seeking representation.  A Criminal Lawyer is not necessarily the best choice to handle a Residential Real Estate matter.  It is therefore important to ask the Lawyer about his or her experience in the area of law in which you are seeking help or advice.

A Real Estate transaction is complex and experience is extremely valuable in minimizing problems.  A good Lawyer will make this complex transaction look simple.

You should try to meet your Lawyer in person before retaining his or her services.  It is always easy to assess the ability and experience level of a Lawyer during an in person meeting.  How comfortable does the Lawyer seem to be when discussing your transaction with you?  Does the Lawyer seem very familiar with your questions or is he or she struggling?

Be suspicious of a Lawyer who prices below the competition.  Such Lawyer may be inexperienced or may be planning to spend only minimal time on your matter and this may end up costing you more and causing you headaches in the end.  Not all Lawyers are created equal.  Clients who choose a Lawyer based solely on price do so at their own peril.  You often get what you pay for.  You may also wish to consider whether or not the Lawyer will be accessible to you, and the length of time it takes to obtain responses to your questions.  Are you convinced that the Lawyer will be available and will truly advocate your success?