Making Sense of Legal Fees For Your Home
Whether you are buying, selling or refinancing residential real estate, you need a real estate lawyer to help you with the process. consequently, people must pay real estate lawyer fees. Yet, how much does it actually cost? And, what exactly are you paying for? Many Albertans are puzzled by how much money their real estate lawyer quotes them in order to help them buy, sell or refinance homes.
For real estate transactions in particular, real estate legal fees are made up of three parts. Most lawyers quote real estate lawyer fees as a specific fee plus disbursements and other charges. Keep reading to understand each of these but know that at Kahane Law Office in Calgary, we believe that our clients deserve to know their total real estate lawyer fees before hiring us. For all residential real estate transactions, we charge reasonable flat rate real estate lawyer fees. We root our values in transparency and integrity. This is why we post our fees online.
Real Estate Lawyer Fees
When a real estate lawyer quotes you a fee, the invoice breaks down as follows:
- legal fees;
- disbursements; and
- other charges.
The legal fees you pay your lawyer goes towards providing legal advice, preparing the necessary paperwork to process your matter and dealing with ongoing issues that may arise during the course of your real estate transaction. You can learn more about what lawyers do when buying a home, selling a home or refinancing a home with these links.
Real Estate Lawyer Fees
This is the fee that the lawyer earns for providing a service to you. This includes things like reviewing documents, drafting documents and communications, explaining things to you, signing documents with you, speaking with the other lawyer, realtors, mortgage people and banks, etc. The fees cover the service actually being provided to you.
In Alberta the only tax that you pay to the lawyer is the GST.
A disbursement, for lawyer purposes, are things that the law firm pay out on behalf of their client. In real estate matters, disbursements include all registrations with the Land Titles Office which is required for matters such as new mortgages, mortgage discharges and title transfers. Registrations are often the largest disbursements you will incur and the fee is often calculated based on the value of the home or new mortgage amount. Please remember that lines of credit get registered as a mortgage on title. Other standard disbursements include fees for courier charges and office expenses.
Examples of disbursements include:
- updated or new real property reports;
- encroachment agreements;
- additional titles for condominium parking and storage units;
- regular couriers;
- insurance certificates;
- relaxation permits;
- title insurance; and
- estoppel certificates (when selling a condominium).
Further, disbursements may also include:
- encumbrance downloading and reviews;
- paying a rush courier to meet an urgent closing deadline; and
- interest fees for late closing.
Other Charges That Lawyers Bill For
Many law firm will list on other “disbursements”. Under the law societies rules, other charges are not disbursements. This means that unless your retainer agreement specifically allows the lawyer to bill you for these things, they cannot add them to your bill as a disbursements. For example, a retainer agreement may say that you will pay lawyer fees plus disbursements. This statement does not capture these other charges. Other charges include:
- photocopy charges;
- file administration fees;
- fax charges; and
- scanning charges.
What Is My Total Fee?
Often times, clients tell us that they received a quote from another law office but were surprised to find that the quote is only for the legal fee and about three to four hundred dollars are tagged on as disbursement. Sometimes their final bill is actually double. It is an industry standard to bill separately for fees and disbursements.
We believe that, as a real estate lawyer, if you fully understand real estate law, you should be able to factor in all the regular components and offer a flat rate fee. There may be some nominal variations but you can get close enough to commit to a specified cost to your client. If a lawyer is slow with something and they need to send rush couriers due to their inaction, then the lawyer should not be able to add the additional charge of extra or rush couriers to the client’s bill.
Remember: If you are calling various law firms for a quote, ensure that the price they quote you includes the fees for disbursements in order to get an accurate idea of how much you will be paying.
What Kahane Law Real Estate Fees Include
Kahane Law Office proudly offers flat rate legal fees for real estate sales, purchases, transfers of land and mortgage refinances. We also offer flat rate fees for other legal services including uncontested divorces, separation agreements and cohabitation agreements in family law. Also, we offer flat rate fees for the creation of wills, personal directives, enduring powers of attorney and many services in corporate law. Click here to view a full list of services we offer for flat rate fees.
At Kahane Law Office, our quoted price includes standard disbursements if the real estate transaction is signed in our Calgary office. There are no additional charges for:
- courier charges within Calgary;
- document drafting fees;
- photo copying;
- land title fees to register one title and one mortgage;
- two hours of purchase and sale related issue resolution; and
- if required, two separate payouts.
However, note that there may be additional charges for corporate sales and purchase, assignment of rents for rental property and rush transactions. For out of town signings, there may be additional disbursement if your case involves:
- a signing agent in the location you sign the documents; and
- delivery charges to return the documents to our office.
Call Us About Our Reasonable Flat Rate Real Estate Legal Fees
If you require assistance with your real estate needs, call us today. Our fees are also clearly set out here. Even if we do not hear from you first, you can let your real estate agent and/or mortgage specialist know that we are acting for you. They then send us all of the paperwork that we need so that we can get started. Please allow them to provide us your contact information.
Looking for other legal services? Ask us how you can save money on flat-rate fees for wills and estates and family law matters when using Kahane Law Office. You can reach us toll-free 1-877-255-8817, 403-225-8810 in Calgary, Alberta or email us directly here.