Your Lawyer's Duties

Your lawyer's role in your home purchase


You will need to employ the services of a lawyer when purchasing a home. They have a very important role in confirming and organizing the final transaction.

Lawyers and mortgages

Why you need a lawyer

Mortgage instructions will be sent to your lawyer from the lending institution. These instructions consist of the mortgage and property details. Your Realtor will have sent your lawyer a copy of the purchase agreement and confirmation that your deposit has been paid.

Your lawyer will then do the appropriate searches to determine what charges are listed against the property (e.g. the vendors mortgage). These must be satisfied by the vendor before title can be transferred to you. Approximately one week before your closing date, you meet with your lawyer. He or she will explain the mortgage documents to you and witness you signing them. Your lawyer will request a copy of your fire insurance on the new property, with loss payable to the lender.

Your lawyer will explain the statement of adjustments and disbursements. This statement lists the various expenditures and where the money is coming from to pay for them.

For example:

  • The contract amount of the purchase

  • Less the amount of deposit you gave the Realtor

  • Less the amount of your mortgage forwarded by the lending institution to your lawyer

  • Add the amount of the down payment you still owe

  • Add the portion of property taxes you owe the vendor OR

  • Subtract the portion of property taxes that the vendor owes to you

  • Add or subtract any other adjustments that are required (e.g. land or property transfer tax)

  • Add the lawyer’s fees.

  • The balance is the amount that you will have to pay to the lawyer ‘in trust’ to complete the transaction. Most lawyers will require a bank draft or certified cheque

On the completion date your lawyer will forward the total amount required to the vendor’s lawyer ‘in trust’ on the vendor’s lawyer’s undertaking to provide clear title to you.

Once the vendors lawyer has received the money, your Realtor will be given the go-ahead to hand you the keys.

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