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Thread: Possible to purchase a home without a lawyer in Ontario?

  1. Default Possible to purchase a home without a lawyer in Ontario?

    I have a question that I can't seem to get a clear answer to: Does one absolutely require a lawyer when purchasing a home in Ontario? Note that I am not asking whether this is smart - or even sane - merely whether it is legally possible. I came upon some info saying "no" but it all applies to the U.S., not to Canada.

    My own research into this seems to show that the sale itself can be handled personally but the problem comes in when trying to register property under the Land Titles Act.

    Firstly, registration in Ontario is done electronically using the Teraview system, and it seems that not just anyone can get access to this sytstem.

    Secondly, according to this PDF a solicitor is required to prepare the Abstract of Title, which is required for registration.

    I had always asssumed that, good idea or bad, a person always has the right to self-representation in all matters, unless underaged or judged incompetent by a court. Anyone have comments?

    (Note: I will be purchasing a home with a solicitor. No doubt I will learn very much from the experience; possibly enough to answer this question. My question is academic and I am not seeking any kind of legal advice.)


  2. #2
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    Default

    I'm not qualified to give legal advice, but as you point out, electronic registrations are handled by lawyers, and I don't think anyone else has access to the system. It's also required that you and the vendor have different lawyers. These are precautions that were introduced a couple of years ago, in response to the rising number of real estate frauds. I'm pretty sure that the short answer to your question is no.

  3. #3

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    I know someone who did a private sale and neither buyer nor seller wanted to use a lawyer but it turned out they had to ... although I don't know exactly why. There were no complications or disagreements or anything, it just turned out that they had to use a lawyer, so I also think the answer to your question is no.

  4. Default

    You could get the lawyer to specifically handle the registration and that's it. That way you could save some money...not sure how much.

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kondoz View Post
    You could get the lawyer to specifically handle the registration and that's it. That way you could save some money...not sure how much.
    There are many searches the Lawyer conducts that could affect you if you attempted to avoid fees. There are title searches, utility clearances, mortgage discharges, lien searches (ie construction lien) build permit issues, easments, encroachments... If you were to puchase a property with encumbrances that were not cleared, you will likely be fully responsible for the payment of them. You could void your title insurance and even cause a default of mortgage terms.

    Hire a lawyer that will do a complete job. This is a home you're purchasing and it is a cost of security in your purchase. Remember that a lawyer carries errors and omissions insurance. If they make an error on your purchase, they are insured to cover your costs.
    Last edited by jaycola; 2010-Mar-23 at 15:01.

  6. Default Your Lawyer

    Your lawyer uses his law license registration and Law society legal fund E & oE to guarantee you and your lender that you / they have clear title to the unit.

    Only the lawyers and government have access to the Land Titles Sytem.

    Can you image the chaos if it was open?

  7. #7

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    If you pay cash (no mortgage at all) for a house do you need either a lawyer or a real estate agent? Might be a silly question, but I had to ask it....

  8. #8

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    I would say yes since there's still the issue of titles above ^^.

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dpylyp View Post
    Your lawyer uses his law license registration and Law society legal fund E & oE to guarantee you and your lender that you / they have clear title to the unit.

    Only the lawyers and government have access to the Land Titles Sytem.

    Can you image the chaos if it was open?
    What chaos? People buy property very rarely. (And by that I mean "normal", natural persons.) The system could easily handle it.

    If the law says I *must* have a legal professional then it necessarily implies that the law - which I am bound by - is beyond my understanding and ability to manage. This means either the law sees me as some kind of incompetent boob or the law itself is so complex as to be beyond the grasp of the ordinary man whom it binds. (The reality is, of course, both, but mostly the latter.) In either case, I think it's a ridiculous state of affairs and only increases my contempt for the law itself and the legal profession especially.

    (Good lord, when did this turn into a rant? Sorry about that...)

    To everyone: Thanks for the responses. I will post an update with what I learn after the purchase is done. I will be especially looking for how much it's possible for the ordinary man do do himself.
    Last edited by Mercury; 2010-Apr-02 at 17:14.

  10. Default Any Update on maximum a person can do without a lawyer?

    Hi Mercury -- any update on your research into the maximum a person can do on their own without a lawyer?

  11. Default

    To transfer property you need a service of a lawyer just like if you need surgery it should be done by a doctor. Lawyers know/only have access to certain documents and system to make a transfer "legit".

    Its not worth trying to save 1000-2000k in legal fees when a home/money is at stake

  12. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by yaz16 View Post
    To transfer property you need a service of a lawyer just like if you need surgery it should be done by a doctor. Lawyers know/only have access to certain documents and system to make a transfer "legit".

    Its not worth trying to save 1000-2000k in legal fees when a home/money is at stake
    I know it's a typo, but I would go to great lengths to save 2000k in legal fees

  13. Default You can save some costs

    I was a little upset when I purchased my first home in Toronto about 8-9 years ago and the legal fees were over $5000. I am about to purchase another home now (in Durham). I have been advised by family that I can go to the land records and pay something like $20, and do a lien search. So instead of giving a lawyer $500 to do this (and have an asisstant run to the office and do a bucnh of them for $20), I can (and will) do it myself. For me I will get the lawyer to do the title etc (I have a long run up - 6 months to close), but my lawyer will be delivered any documentation I can get. Now lawyers, (the scum that they are), may try to charge me more anyway, but I will do my best.
    I work for a firm in the finance industry and we rarely use our lawyers, even when signing million dollar contracts, only because we are educated about contracts, and know what to look for/go to them if uncertain etc. Same goes for personal issues in my mind. It may be wise, but many industries cloak certain aspects of what you may be able to avoid/cost save on. Obviously don't scrimp on any important stuff. I have already signed the purchase contract without a lawyer, but I already live in the house, know the owners, and read the contract very carefully.

  14. #14

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    Not sure how much it used to cost, but you should be able to close with alawyer under 2g's after all the costs and taxes are considered. Might even be able to find a deal for under 1500+


    Yes you need a lawyer to close in Ontario. Title registration and search.. they are the only ones that have access to the database.

  15. Default

    I wouldn't risk a major purchase like this just to save $$ on lawyer fees...

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