Real Estate 101: The Buyer’s Real Estate Team
- Author: Jasmine Salamon
- Date: March 23, 2023
Buying a house is a very exciting process and one that prospective Buyers should be prepared for. Whether it’s arranging your mortgage or submitting an offer to purchase, making a mistake when buying a house can lead to many future headaches. This is one of the reasons why it is important to ensure that you have professionals that you can trust and rely upon in your corner.
Protecting Your Interests
Most houses on the market will have a real estate agent representing the Seller (referred to as the “listing agent” or “Seller’s Agent”). Put simply, the Seller’s Agent’s main responsibilities are to make sure that the best interests of their client, the Seller, are protected, and to secure the most favourable deal to their clients.
So how does a Buyer make sure that their best interests are protected? Simple: by hiring their own real estate agent (or lawyer) to represent their interests when preparing and negotiating the offer.
The Buyer’s Team
For a Buyer (as with a Seller), there are two key professionals who may become involved in the purchase: the Buyer’s real estate agent (if any), and the Buyer’s solicitor.
- The Buyer’s Real Estate Agent:
One of the key jobs of a Buyer’s real estate agent (the “Buyer’s Agent”), is to guide the Buyer through the purchasing process, starting from the moment the Buyer decides to look at houses, and continuing until a firm Agreement of Purchase and Sale is in place. Whether this means searching through properties to find one that meets the Buyer’s particular needs, or negotiating a great deal with the Seller, a Buyer’s Agent is there to spearhead the overall process of securing the agreement.
- The Buyer’s Real Estate Lawyer:
Though the job of a Buyer’s real estate lawyer (the “Buyer’s Lawyer”) is also to guide the Buyer through the purchasing process, the Buyer’s Lawyer assists in the purchasing process once the Buyer’s Agent has secured the agreement, and continues until the purchasing process is complete. Where the Buyer has not retained a Buyer’s Agent, the Buyer’s Lawyer may also become involved earlier in the process in drafting, negotiating, and/or reviewing the Buyer’s offer(s).
Selecting a Real Estate Lawyer
As with retaining a lawyer for any matter, when it comes time to retaining a lawyer for your purchase or your sale, the individual you hire should have experience with real estate transactions, be able to explain each step in the process, and be looking out for and focused on protecting your best interests.
It is noted that while one real estate agent may represent both the Buyer and the Seller in a transaction, subject to limited exceptions, the Law Society of Ontario’s Rules of Professional Conduct prohibits one lawyer or law firm from representing both the Buyer and Seller due to the inherent conflict of interest between a Buyer and Seller.
What does the Buyer’s Lawyer Do?
Much of what a Buyer’s Lawyer does on a purchase goes on without the direct involvement of the Buyer. This however does not make it any less important or crucial to the transaction.
On a standard purchase, a Buyer’s Lawyer will, among other things:
- review the agreement of purchase & sale and address anything unusual;
- order and review title searches and off-title searches;
- prepare the Transfer and related documents;
- make requisitions to the Seller’s lawyer regarding any title or off-title issues discovered (the “Issues”);
- address with the Buyer and with the Seller’s lawyer any Issues, including those relating to the transfer of good title or the property itself;
- correspond with the Seller’s lawyer regarding draft documents, such as the statement of adjustments;
- apply for a title insurance policy, and request additional endorsements to cover specific matters relating to the property if necessary;
- receive instructions from the Buyer’s mortgagor, and prepare mortgage documentation, if applicable;
- meet with the Buyer to sign the closing documentation and to discuss any Issues;
- attend to the delivery of closing documents and the balance due on closing to the Seller’s lawyer;
- electronically register the Transfer and, if applicable, the mortgage;
- follow up on any undertakings given by the Seller’s lawyer after closing (e.g., the discharge of the seller’s existing mortgage); and
- report to the Buyer, and if applicable, the Buyer’s mortgagor.
In addition, as noted above, the Buyer’s Lawyer may also assist in the drafting and negotiation of the offer.
Buying a house is exciting, however it can very quickly become a complicated and stressful process. Having experienced professionals you trust guide you during this process can increase the chances that your purchase will run smoothly and reduce the likelihood of headaches down the road.
Whether you are buying your first home, upgrading to a new bigger home, downsizing to a smaller home, purchasing an investment property or a camp property, or you are selling, our experienced team of real estate lawyers at CARREL+Partners LLP is here to help guide you every step of the way. Get in touch today.
This publication is for general information purposes and is not to be taken as legal advice. The information within is current only to the date of publishing. If you have any questions regarding article content, please contact the author(s) directly.