Lawyer or Notary? Why You Need a Legal Representative

When you purchase or sell a piece of real estate, the title of that property must change hands. For that to happen, it needs to be registered with the land title office through a lawyer or notary. What do they do, exactly? There are quite a number of steps your legal representative must go through to change the ownership of your property. Here’s a quick rundown.

What Your Legal Representative Does

Your legal representative will take all the documents pertaining to your sale or purchase from your real estate agent’s office and will review them to ensure there are no outstanding costs on the title (no liens or easements, no mortgages or taxes that are not paid out). They’ll also look into the home’s insurance (if applicable) and conduct other due diligence to make sure the new owner is not paying for costs owed by the seller. Depending on the contract of purchase and sale, the lawyer or notary will also order and review a site survey.

Choosing a legal representative. Image via
Choosing a legal representative. Image via

Document Verification

If the notary or lawyer is representing the buyer, they will draft up a set of documents for both sides of the transaction. They will meet with the buyer to sign them and receive the buyer’s down payment, send them to the seller’s lawyer or notary to sign and return. The seller’s notary will order a payout statement for any mortgages on title and will also organize the documents that instruct how and to whom the funds should be disbursed.

Starting Completion

Now the buyer’s funds can be deposited, the funds can be ordered from the lender, and the deposit from the real estate agent’s office can be confirmed. This means that the completion can begin. The lawyer or notary will verify that all forms have been signed, then file the application to transfer title. After one hour, the legal representative will do a search to verify that no other applications have been made at the Land Title Office against the property and then the transfer will be complete.

Lawyers Vs. Notaries

In short, you need a legal representative in your transaction. Do you choose a lawyer or a notary? Well, that depends. Both have their pros and cons. A lawyer will be more costly, but will also have the expertise to deal with more complex transactions in case legal issues arise. Mostly it comes down to a matter of affordability and confidence. Some people feel more comfortable with a lawyer handling their transaction, while others prefer to use a notary.

More questions about notaries and lawyers? We can point you in the right direction; get in touch!