Our firm provides superior quality representation on behalf of buyers and sellers in all matters involving real estate. Including home sales and home purchases, as well as the purchase and sale of vacant land, condominiums and commercial properties. LCW also assists clients with mortgage and line of credit financing, the purchase of title insurance, as well as other real estate matters involving construction, land use, zoning and commercial leasing and rental agreement matters.
Members of our Real Estate, Mortgages and Land Development Practice Group represent individuals and businesses, including commercial developers, lenders, contractors, construction companies, leasing agents, landlords and tenants in real estate transactions and litigation matters involving real estate issues and mortgage and loan enforcement matters. As one of the largest full service law firms in the Niagara Peninsula, LCW has been involved in many aspects of the area’s extensive land development projects. Our lawyers have successfully represented clients before local zoning hearing boards, governmental agencies and the courts in connection with land development and zoning applications.
Our Niagara real estate lawyers provide advice and representation in the following areas:
- Residential Purchases and Sales
- Commercial real estate transactions
- Commercial and Residential Mortgage transactions
- Land Development
- Condominium Development
- Municipal Applications
- Correction of title issues
Contact one of our experienced lawyers practicing Real Estate Law to help you successfully navigate your legal needs.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What does a real estate lawyer do?
Real estate lawyers advise and represent clients through real estate transactions, such as sale, purchase, leasing, mortgage financing, and property taxes. For commercial real estate transactions, your lawyers may also negotiate the terms of the agreement, advise on commercial matters, and assist with zoning and land development.
How much does a real estate lawyer cost?
Your real estate lawyer’s fees will depend on several factors, such as:
- Whether it’s a residential or commercial transaction.
- Complexity and scope of the engagement.
- Any specialized services required for the real estate matter.
There is no prescribed fee for a real estate lawyer, but a residential real estate purchase usually costs $900, excluding taxes. Talk to a real estate lawyer to find out how much they estimate your matter to cost.
How do I find a real estate law firm in St. Catharines?
If you are looking for the most reputed, most established real estate law firm in St. Catharines, you’re at the right place already. Lancaster Chown & Welch LLP has been formed from the combination of four of Niagara’s top law firms. We bring over 100 years of experience representing and advising clients in a wide range of matters, including real estate.
Can a lawyer represent both parties in real estate?
No, in most scenarios a lawyer cannot represent both parties in a real estate transaction. There are some limited exceptions to this, including:
- In some severance of land transfers.
- When transferring from an estate trustee, executor, or administrator to a beneficiary.
- Where the transferor and transferee are “related persons” under section 251 of the Income Tax Act.
To learn more, speak to us or visit the Law Society of Ontario website.
Should I sell my house before I buy a new one?
That depends on several things, such as what the real estate market is like, where you are planning to move to, your financial resources, and your risk appetite. Speak to an experienced real estate about the market and talk to a real estate lawyer to understand the pros and cons of either approach.
I am a first-time house buyer. What do I need to know?
This is a big question, so it’s best to ask a lawyer in person. That said, you should:
- Review purchase and sale documents carefully (or have them vetted by a lawyer).
- Read the mortgage conditions thoroughly.
- Check for liens and potential issues with the title.
- Get title insurance.
Make sure your lawyer understands your concerns, expectations, and circumstances.
What is a mortgage?
A mortgage is used to borrow money to buy real estate. The lender agrees to lend you money on the condition that you will pay back the amount loaned with the agreed-upon interest and timeframe, with the property being purchased effectively serving as security. Failure to do so will allow the lender to repossess the property.
Do we need a lawyer when buying a house?
You will need real estate if you are buying a house in Ontario to:
- Validate the property title and that the seller has the right to sell the property.
- Identify and correct liens and title issues.
- Calculate land transfer tax, if any.
- Meet your lender’s mortgage requirements (most will only provide the loan through the lawyer).
There is a lot of paperwork and technicality involved in a real estate transaction, and working with experienced real estate lawyers is advisable so nothing falls through the cracks.
What conditions can I put on the offer of purchase?
Technically, there are no restrictions on what you can put in the offer at the time of purchase. That being said, adding too many conditions can make your offer less attractive. Here are a few essential conditions you should make the offer contingent on:
- Mortgage approval from your lender.
- Satisfactory property inspection.
- Condition of the fixtures and appliances.
- Clear closing date.
Do include conditions for items that are deal breakers for you (such as repainting or removing a hot tub) but know that unreasonable conditions can put off the seller.
What information must be disclosed before I purchase?
Nothing. As the buyer, you do not need to disclose anything before making the purchase. As the buyer, you should know about caveat emptor—or buyer beware! You are responsible for finding out as much about the property as possible because you are buying it at your own risk.
Sellers have an extremely limited disclosure requirement, such as whether there has been a death on the property.
Can I still sell my property as a non-resident Canadian?
Yes, you can sell the property as a non-resident Canadian, though you will be subject to the same tax and legal requirements as a Canadian resident. However, the tax process will be stricter, including applying for a Certificate of Compliance.
You should work with experienced, local real estate lawyers to streamline the sale process.