What exactly does a real estate lawyer do?

The practice of real estate law is sometimes a bit of a mystery to the public. When people hear the word “lawyer,” they immediately think of Law & Order and courtroom work. What happens on the transactional end isn’t as exciting to the outsider, but there are a lot of things that we do.

Real estate lawyers check title to make sure that you don’t have to buy the house with a restriction you can’t live with; check off title to make sure, for example, that the property taxes are all paid; prepare all of the paperwork; and meet with the client to sign everything. If we receive the offer before it’s firm, we can also have input into conditions and other items.

I came across this article in the Globe and Mail a few weeks ago, which has more tips on what to look for in a real estate lawyer and why it’s important to have one. In Ontario, you cannot buy or sell a property without a lawyer, but hiring one who makes real estate a regular part of their practice can make all the difference.