Posted by Darryl Aarbo — filed in Real Estate Law
Part 6 of a 6 Part Series
Your home is probably going to be the biggest purchase of your life. It will be your biggest asset that you own at any one time. It will be your biggest investment. It can and should be the bedrock of your retirement.
Some aspects of real estate law do require a real estate lawyer. This is not a requirement set by the government, but by the lenders. Most lenders will require a buyer to have a lawyer prepare a mortgage. Thus, you may not have the option of not using a lawyer.
Having said that, people want to save a few bucks by not hiring realtors or lawyers to review the single most important purchase of their life or they look for the cheapest possible option. People spend more time doing their due diligence over a car or vacation than buying their home. Saving money has become an obsession but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You may save money in the short run but it may cost you more in the long run.
Buying a home is expensive and stressful, but cutting back on professional advice when spending hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of dollars is simply insane. This is not a coupon to get a cheap haircut or cheap meal. This will be your home and could wipe you out financially if you make a mistake.
In my opinion every aspect of a home transaction should be dealt with by a professional, whether a lawyer or a licenced realtor, but if you chose not to use a realtor then you should still seek out professional advice on the contracts. Also, do not expect a lawyer to do the work of a realtor as part of the standard fee arrangement.
Also, finding the cheapest lawyer to do the deal may not be the most prudent approach. You want to find a law firm that will give you the attention you deserve. You should be able to speak to the lawyer and get a response in a timely manner. You should be able to meet with a lawyer face to face to get advice and direction. You should expect that if a problem arises that the lawyer will address those problems, as opposed to assistants. It is important to ask how much a lawyer charges, but you should also ask whether that fee includes dealing with problems and whether you get to meet and can speak to a lawyer if there is a problem. Ask how experienced a lawyer is at real estate. Also, do not assume that a firm that only does real estate is your best option. Some firms do so many deals in a month that they cannot possibly give each deal the attention it deserves. This is your home and biggest investment, so ask questions and not just about saving $50.00 on a half million dollar purchase!
Another area of real estate law that requires more attention rather than less legal attention is due diligence when buying property. There are a lot of companies out there that review the title and condominium documents with marginal effectiveness. In many cases I find that they are just going through the motions and hoping for the best. They do a very superficial review of the documents and do not give effective legal advice.
The advantage of doing both real estate conveyancing and real estate litigation is that you get to see what gets missed and why. I have seen both ends many times. I know what judges look at when things go bad so I know what to look for at the front end. For example, there is a lot of real estate litigation that involves transactions where the condominium documents got reviewed by a company that purports to provide this service at a good and competitive price, but missed a lot of things, probably because they were doing it for the lowest cost in the market. Lawyers can rarely provide this service at a smaller cost that these services, but offer a far better product, especially if that lawyer also does real estate litigation such as Aarbo Fuldauer LLP.
By Darryl Aarbo of Aarbo Fuldauer LLP
Address: 3rd Floor, 1131 Kensington Road NW, Calgary, AB, T2N 3P4
Phone: (403) 571-5120