Real estate transactions–whether personal or commercial–are significant to anyone’s life. This is why finding the right real estate lawyers to assert your rights, protect your interests, and mitigate risks is critical. In this guide, we will explain how you can identify the right team for your needs.
The Importance of a Real Estate Lawyer
Before we dive into how to find the right real estate law firm, let’s understand why finding the right team is so important.
Real estate lawyers provide legal and practical advice on complex property laws. They will help you understand your rights and obligations, warn you of pitfalls, and help you make informed decisions. Your lawyers will mitigate any risks, protect your interests, and educate you on your rights.
Draft, Review and Negotiate Contracts
Whether it’s sale and purchase agreements, leases, or other real estate transactions, lawyers will keep your best interests in mind by drafting, reviewing, and negotiating favorable terms in real estate contracts. They can also provide you with exit routes and protect you from onerous conditions.
Issues centered around legal, environmental, zoning, liens, and other elements can quickly derail real estate projects. Your real estate lawyers in St. Catharines can protect you from unexpected issues, while also ensuring you make informed decisions.
Manage Financial Aspects
Your lawyers will assist with all financial matters, whether it’s receiving and paying out funds from a mortgage provider or overseeing the transfer of title or ownership. Many mortgage providers will not pay funds directly to the borrower, preferring to go through lawyers instead.
Your lawyers will represent you if disputes arise in your transaction, such as boundary disputes, lease disagreements, and unfavorable property assessments. Whether it’s mediation, arbitration, or litigation, your lawyers can guide and support you every step of the way.
Ontario’s real estate laws are complex, which is why it’s easy to fall victim to them without informed legal guidance. Lawyers will help you identify specific risks around your transaction and mitigate them.
Finding the Real Estate Lawyers in Niagara Falls and St. Catharines
Choosing the right real estate lawyers near you can be pivotal for any legal matter, let alone real estate transactions. Here are eight factors you should keep in mind when looking for the right legal team:
Specialization in Real Estate
The first thing to do is look for real estate lawyers in Niagara Falls who specialize in real estate law. Just as you work with a local real estate agent for property, you should work with a local team. They will have experience with real estate in the area, real-world insight, and will have worked on matters similar to yours.
Reputation and Reviews
Knowledgeable, competent real estate lawyers near you earn a positive reputation in the legal community. Check legal publications such as Chambers and Partner and Canadian Lawyer Magazine to see how highly the team is rated. For more practical client testimonials, you can check sources such as Google and Facebook.
Real estate matters are complex enough, which is why you need to work with real estate lawyers in Niagara Falls who can translate legal verbiage into plain language. Your lawyers should help you see past complex litigation to achieve favorable outcomes.
Availability and Responsiveness
Responsiveness in their communication is key, as being kept informed and involved throughout the process is ideal. Assess how quickly law firms respond to your queries, how their team works with you, and who you have direct access to.
Fees and Fee Structures
Make sure your chosen real estate attorney near you offers a fee structure that fits your needs. For straightforward, personal real estate matters, a flat rate is ideal. Complex commercial transactions, on the other hand, may require hourly fees. If that’s the case, ask about billing practices, who will be spending the most time on your case, and how the firm delivers value for you.
Local expertise is vitally important in real estate law. Your lawyers should be familiar with zoning laws, local regulations, property values, and prevailing market trends. If your lawyers can offer that, they will be able to provide more relevant advice and will know how to watch for red flags in your transaction.
Real estate lawyers in St. Catharines should have a robust network of professionals who can assist with your matter, especially in their local area. This can include contacts with planners, surveyors, experts in environmental surveys, and others.
If yours is a personal real estate transaction, it’s important that you feel comfortable with the lawyer you select. Transactions can take weeks or months to complete, which may mean many hours of time spent with this individual. Choose someone who is comfortable to work with.
In commercial matters, compatibility is less about personal rapport and more about goal alignment. Do the lawyers understand your priorities? Are they able to work with your organization’s corporate structure?
Working with a Sole Practitioner vs. Real Estate Law Firm
If yours is a straightforward real estate transaction, working with a sole real estate attorney near you may be tempting. While it might be an acceptable situation, it is advisable to work with a larger firm that has a full-fledged real estate practice. Why? Here are a few reasons:
- The firm will have the resources to assess your transaction fully.
- There are multiple levels of accountability, so your matter will get the attention it needs.
- You will receive wholesome advice from an experienced group of professionals.
- You present a more formidable appearance to other parties when you work with a larger firm.
- If a dispute arises, the firm will have the resources to represent you effectively at negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and before the courts.
Leading Real Estate Lawyers in Niagara Falls and St. Catharines
With more than 140 years in practice, Lancaster Chown & Welch LLP has helped shape the Niagara skyline. We help individuals with residential real estate, as well as corporations with commercial real estate transactions. Our real estate lawyers are trusted partners for REITs, builders, developers, property management firms, and more.
Schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss your needs with an experienced team today.