Select a lawyer as you’d select a real estate agent: seek competitive fees, excellent service, knowledge, approachability – in other words, value.

Involve your lawyer before you sign the Offer, which becomes a legal Agreement of Purchase and Sale once you and the seller sign it. Have your lawyer read the document carefully and review it with you. Once it’s signed and accepted, your lawyer will order a series of searches from various municipal offices to ensure that the vendors haven’t been sued, that they’ve paid all of their property taxes and water, electric and gas bills, and that there’ll be no outstanding mortgages or liens on the property once you become the owner.

Your lawyer will also draft a series of closing documents and review the closing documents drafted by the vendor’s lawyer.

Your lender and lawyer will co-ordinate and draft the appropriate documents. Your lawyer will notify the property tax offices as well as the utility offices that you will be the new owner as of the closing day.

A few days before closing, you’ll visit your lawyer’s office to sign the closing documents. Bring a certified cheque for the balance of the closing funds, because the lawyer pays the relevant parties on your behalf (land transfer to the government, balance owing to the vendor, etc.). Part of that amount cov