From buying and selling homes to more complex agreements involving estate law, a real estate attorney navigates property transactions far better than the layperson. Even when you might think an attorney is unnecessary, you would be surprised what little legal loopholes you might be overlooking. That’s why a lawyer is necessary in the vast majority of cases.

A homebuyer’s worst nightmare can become a reality quicker than you think. That’s what happened when a local man lost $82,000 on a presale recently. Lawyers across the country are advising the public to be a little more cautious when entering into real estate transactions.

This article from Guardian Law will help you understand what lawyers do to make the world of real estate run smoothly. We’ll dive into the main benefits of hiring a real estate lawyer, and our expert advice on how to prepare for choosing a law firm for your case.

What Does A Real Estate Attorney In Vancouver Do?

A real estate attorney helps you with processes like buying, selling, or leasing property. With their advanced knowledge of BC property law, they ensure that your transactions are legally sound and beneficial to you.

In our experience handling real estate cases for our Vancouver clients, these are some of our typical tasks:

  • Contract Review and Preparation: Ensuring you understand your rights and obligations, and helping you comply with the latter. This is especially important when you close a deal.
  • Title Search: Allowing you to do your due diligence on a property’s legal status.
  • Negotiation: Obtaining the best possible terms for you on your next real estate deal.
  • Representation in Court: Should a dispute arise, you will need a sharp legal defence team on your side. Disputes can originate from all sorts of situations, such as zoning issues and the failure of one party to fulfill their obligations in a contract.

Far from being limited to large commercial deals, these lawyers assist with residential real estate cases too. For instance, in real estate conveyancing, the lawyer will guarantee that the property is transferred according to law and that any fees such as the property transfer tax have been paid.

Why Having A Real Estate Lawyer In Vancouver Is Essential

In Vancouver, and increasingly across the country, the real estate market is fraught with uncertainty. The market has been competitive for decades. As such, the legal process of buying a home has become far more regulated than ever before. That’s partly thanks to a few bad-faith actors. No matter the scenario, arming yourself with a real estate attorney’s expertise is your best defence.

In total, we hypothesized that there are almost 20 cases where you need a real estate lawyer in Vancouver. We’ll spare you the gory details here and simply cover the general advantages of working with an attorney.

4 Benefits Of Going With A Lawyer For Your Real Estate Transaction

Mitigate Legal Risk: It’s no secret that our real estate here in Vancouver is among the most expensive in the world. Detached home prices have gone up 159% from 2005-2015 alone. That means any transaction will involve a significant financial investment. A lawyer will help you comply with all the legal frameworks in BC, ensuring that you don’t run into disputes down the road.

Protect Your Best Interests: When you’re up against a much wealthier party on the other side of the transaction, it’s easy to feel cornered. Even if they’re not malicious, the other party won’t have your absolute best interests in mind. A real estate lawyer has the know-how to review contracts for unfair terms and negotiate favourable conditions on your behalf.

Resolve Disputes: Many individuals come to a real estate lawyer just to resolve a dispute. No matter whether you require real estate litigation, negotiation, or mediation, lawyers will know the best course of action.

Save Time On Paperwork: A single error on a form today could cause you a mountain of headaches in the future. If you’re not familiar with the forms involved in a real estate purchase or sale, then you’ll take a lot longer to complete them than a lawyer would. Not to mention, they’ll do it all correctly the first time.

homebuyer holds keys for his real estate

How To Hire A Real Estate Lawyer: Our Tips

We’ve already stressed how important it is to get real estate transactions right. That means you’ll need to pick the right lawyer too. If it’s your first time dealing with property law, it’s understandably daunting.

Don’t fret, we’ve already compiled some top tips for hiring a quality real estate lawyer.

First, Outline Your Needs & Objectives

Depending on the specific situation, you might not even need a lawyer. If you just need to conduct a simple title search, a notary public is sufficient. That said, most processes are more complex and will demand a lawyer, for instance, to review contracts and resolve disputes.

Moreover, some law firms only cover one particular area of real estate law. Residential and commercial real estate are separate fields within property law. So make sure you understand which area they cover.

Research Thoroughly

To find a trustworthy lawyer, gather recommendations from friends and family first, and then vet them quickly using online reviews. Read the longest reviews to get a sense of what it would be like to work with that lawyer. You should also be able to tell if they have experience with cases similar to yours.

Of course, you must also verify that the lawyer is licensed in your specific jurisdiction and verify their specialization on their website.

Schedule A Meeting

Once you have 2 or 3 law firms that you feel you can trust, you can begin the hiring process. But don’t go into the interview unprepared. In fact, we prepared some questions for you to ask your lawyer to see if they are qualified.

Make sure that you have the correct documentation. For instance, you should bring identification as well as relevant documents about your property. Furthermore, you might need to bring financial documents or anything else that certifies your obligations in the scenario at hand.

Real Estate Checklist: 13 Questions To Ask A Potential Lawyer

  1. What is your experience in real estate law?
  2. Have you handled cases similar to mine?
  3. What are your fees, and how are they structured?
  4. Who else in your office will work on my case?
  5. How will you communicate with me?
  6. What are the potential legal issues with my transaction?
  7. Can you provide a timeline for my case?
  8. How do you handle conflicts that might arise during the transaction?
  9. What is your approach to due diligence?
  10. Can you provide references from past clients?
  11. What other services could be beneficial to my transaction?
  12. Are there any actions I should avoid that could impact my case?
  13. What documents or information do I need to provide?

Work With Guardian Law – Top Real Estate Lawyers In Vancouver

We wrote this article based on our own hard-earned experience in BC property law. If you want to continue benefiting from that experience, we recommend you work with us.

We have a diverse legal team that can handle all manner of real estate disputes. Collectively, our experience is enough to address just about any issue in real estate law. Book an appointment with us to start sorting out your legal situation. We’ll get the job done efficiently, and without sacrificing due diligence.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do You Need A Lawyer To Buy A House In British Columbia?

In British Columbia, it is not mandatory to have a lawyer when buying a house, but it is highly recommended. Real estate transactions involve complex legal documents and processes, such as drafting and reviewing purchase agreements, conducting a title search, and ensuring proper transfer of ownership. Beyond these complexities, the lawyer identifies and addresses any legal issues, and protects your interests. They also ensure compliance with provincial and local laws. 

Do Home Sellers Need A Real Estate Attorney?

For home sellers, hiring a real estate attorney is not obligatory but can be highly beneficial. Selling a home involves various legalities, including contract preparation, property disclosures, negotiating terms with buyers, and resolving title issues. Real estate attorneys assist in all these areas, ensuring that your rights are protected and that you comply with local laws. Legal guidance can be your top asset.

How Much Do Lawyers Charge To Buy A House In BC?

The average range can be between $900 and $1,300. But keep in mind, this figure can only grow in more complex transactions where the lawyer has more tasks to complete to ensure your transaction is legally compliant.

How Much Are Closing Costs In BC?

Closing costs in BC range between 2% and 4% of property value. The percentage is usually lower as the value of your property increases. You might pay 6 or 7% on the first $100,000 of the transaction, and 2-3% on the rest. Seller and buyer agents will usually share their commission from these costs 50/50.

Does A Seller Pay Closing Costs In BC?

Yes, the seller pays closing costs in BC. However, the buyer will assume a larger portion. As a seller, your closing costs can include the real estate agent’s commission and legal fees. In some cases, you might also need to pay mortgage penalties, adjustment costs, and capital gains tax. Of course, those last 3 are highly dependent on your personal situation.