Working with a lawyer to sell your house

Your lawyer will work on many aspects of the transaction when you come to sell your home. One of the most important service he/she will provide you with is a review of any offers submitted by purchasers. When you and the buyer sign this document, you are legally committed to price, terms and conditions of the sale. Be aware, however, that your lawyer cannot advise you concerning the price contained in the offer.

After the conditions of the offer have been met, your lawyer will begin gathering the documents needed to complete the transaction and transfer of title to the new owner. He or she will also be in contact with the purchaser's lawyer and will respond to any questions or issues regarding title or requirements in the agreement that have to be resolved before closing.

If you have an existing mortgage on your property that you plan to pay off from proceeds of the sale, your lawyer will obtain a copy of the mortgage statement from your lender. He or she will also send a letter to the purchaser's lawyer that confirms the mortgage will be discharged from the proceeds.

A Statement of Adjustments, detailing the credits each party is to receive for deposits and prepaid or unpaid realty taxes will be prepared by your lawyer, along with a calculation of the balance due on closing. Many lawyers prepare a separate Financial Statement that is not part of the Statement of Adjustments. It shows how much was received and then disbursed. The balance (your net proceeds of the sale) is payable to the clients.

Your lawyer will also ensure that the paperwork required for transferring title and for registering the required documents is received by the land registry office by closing day. He or she will receive the proceeds of the sale and distribute them, discharging your mortgage, expenses and whatever other items are listed as payable in the financial statement. You will then receive a cheque for the net proceeds.

Finally, your lawyer will also send you a reporting letter setting out the services performed and provide you with any appropriate documents from the transaction for your records.

To find a Lawyer in your area, visit The Law Society of Upper Canada's website.