I’m about to buy a condo. Do I need a lawyer or notary public for this, or can I do it myself?
I’m on a tight budget. I gather the legal fees will be over $1,000.
Buying real estate in BC involves more written documents and administrative filings than you might think. While your realtor might prepare the contract of purchase and sale, a real estate lawyer or notary public will help with the conveyancing documents to make sure you’re the legal owner when the transaction closes. And there’s further coordination here that a legal professional might handle when it comes to making sure your mortgage comes through — banks and lenders will require many documents to be signed off on and reviewed before they lend you the money.
You can do this all on your own, but there’s a lot of precise paperwork involved. Real estate lawyers and notaries do these transactions for a living, so it’s highly unlikely they’ll miss the important details.
Your real estate agent might have a recommendation for a lawyer or notary, but you should shop around. Most legal professionals will be able to give you an all-in quote in advance, so at least you’ll have cost certainty. And don’t rely on the seller’s lawyer to help you out; they’re not looking out for your interests.
Whether you try to do this on your own, or plan to hire advisors, check out our detailed guidance on buying or selling a home. It’ll get you up to speed on your legal rights and give you great strategic tips to take some of the stress out of the home-buying process.