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What to know prior to meeting your lawyer for purchasing a property

Top Things To Know For Buyers Before Your Real Estate Lawyer Appointment


Not having the right things in place for real estate lawyer appointments, can delay possession, cost you money and even jeopardize your entire real estate deal. If you are buying a home for the first time or are a seasoned home buyer, the following are key reminders of what you’ll need to bring to your appointment. This includes what documents you will need for real estate lawyer appointments and what you will execute (a fancy word for sign) with your real estate lawyer.


For real estate lawyer appointments as a buyer or seller you need identification. To represent you, the lawyer must obtain basic information about you in order to be compliant with the Rules of the Alberta Law Society. The information the lawyer must gather is as follows:

  • your full name;
  • your business address and business telephone number, if applicable;
  • your home address and home telephone number; and
  • your occupation.

Further the lawyer, for all real estate lawyers appointments, will have to verify your identification by examining original, valid and unexpired government issued identification. You will be required to bring two pieces of identification. One piece must be a valid government issued photo ID. The other may be a credit card or health care card. If you are unsure, ask your lawyer, or their paralegal, prior to coming to the appointment.

Down Payment

You will also be required to bring in funds for real estate lawyer appointments. Funds may be payable via certified cheque or bank draft to satisfy the balance needed to buy your home which must be deposited into the lawyers trust account. Funds must be certified as lawyers are not permitted to send funds out of their trust accounts on non-certified funds. The lawyer ahead of your real estate lawyer appointment will provide you with the cash to close balance. The cash to close balance is calculated by considering the following adjustable items:

  • The rest of your down payment;
  • Property tax adjustments;
  • New mortgage costs (if any);
  • Legal fees and disbursements;
  • Potential interest to the seller (if any);
  • Real estate commissions;
  • Local improvement charges; and
  • Mortgage interest adjustment (if applicable).

Void Cheque

You will be told about this one. Even though you may have given your mortgage broker a void cheque already, your lawyer may need one too. It is a requirement of many lenders for direct withdrawal of your mortgage payments. If you do not have a cheque to void, then you will have to go to your bank and get a pre-authorized payment form. Most lenders will want your bank to stamp this form with their teller stamp.

Confirmation of Insurance

You are responsible for placing fire insurance on the property you are buying. This insurance protects sellers if they give you possession before being paid in full. It also is a requirement of all banks. Prior to real estate lawyer appointments, the lawyer will instruct you to provide confirmation of insurance for the property. This confirmation comes in the form of a binder. A binder letter for insurance is a short form indicating that there is coverage on the home. It may be sent directly from your insurance company to the law firm to make your life easier. It will just mean a short call by you to your insurance company to request then to fax or email the binder letter. Many lenders do not require content insurance for condominiums. The building is insured but you are very strongly advised to get content insurance to protect yourself.

Execution of Documents

This list is what you should expect at real estate lawyer appointments. This is not a list of things that you need to bring with you or prepare. The lawyer will then go through an array of documents and explain their legal implications with you. The documents that will likely encounter are as follows:

Conflict of Interest Letter

Typically, if you are getting a mortgage to finance the purchase of your new home your lawyer will also be retained by a lender. For the lawyer to represent you and the lender, you will have to provide the lawyer with consent to so as required by Alberta Law Society Rules. You should be aware that no information will be treated as confidential between the parties. Further if an issue between you and the lender cannot be resolved, the lawyer will be unable to represent either party.

Assignment of Mortgage Proceeds

Provides your lawyer with written authorization and direction detailing that the mortgage funds be assigned in favor of the seller.

Transfer Back

Some seller’s lawyers require the buyer to execute a transfer back in favour of the seller. If title is transferred to the buyer but the mortgage proceeds are not advanced, the transfer back may be used to re-convey the property back to the seller. These are not needed on a cash purchase but should always be required if you are getting a mortgage.

Tenancy at Will Agreement

If the buyer is to take possession prior to the seller’s lawyers receiving the entire cash to close balance, the seller’s lawyer will require the buyer to sign a tenancy at will agreement prior to taking possession. Most sellers will allow this to happen but there needs to be specific things in place first. The seller may also withhold possession until such time as you are able to have all your funds available.

Mortgage Documents

Each lender will have their own set of documents and forms that will be required to be executed and registered at land titles. Without these documents being signed, the lender will not advance your mortgage funds to the lawyer. This will mean that you will not get your home. You cannot get possession without having signed the mortgage first. It is very important for your lender to provide your lawyer with mortgage instructions prior to any real estate lawyer appointments. Without them, we cannot even get started in preparing paperwork for you.

Transfer of Land

These documents will register and convey the property under your name. You will have to sign one part of it as a buyer. That portion is known as the Affidavit of Transferee. Since the Land Titles Office bills their fees based on the value of property, this is the spot where you will state what the property is worth.

Scheduling Real Estate Lawyer Appointments

Scheduling real estate lawyer appointments is easy. Our real estate lawyers are here to help you when you buy or sell a home. Since we have so many real estate lawyers at our firm, we are happy to book around your schedule. We also offer after hours and weekend signings with one of our mobile signing agents. You can reach us toll-free at 1-877-225-8817, or call us in Calgary, Alberta 403-225-8810 locally or email us directly here.