Home > Legal Matters > What is the difference between hiring a lawyer vs a notary public on real estate closing?

What is the difference between hiring a lawyer vs a notary public on real estate closing?

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The difference between lawyers and notaries is something like the difference between doctors and nurses.   Virtually every lawyer has an undergraduate degree and a law degree from a recognized university. A Notary Public, while they must have matriculated from high school, their training consists of anywhere from a six-month correspondence course to a two-year correspondence course. 

  Most real estate deals are fairly straightforward and both a lawyer and notary will prepare the documents for you.  

If you are buying a home, they will:

conduct a title search

investigating titleLand Title Registration fees

obtain tax information

 andany additional info to prepare a Statement of Adjustments.

Work with mortgage company’s Lawyer/Notary prepare closing documents,including a title transfer, mortgage, property transfer tax forms and forward them to the seller’s lawyer or notary for execution.After you sign your papers, the lawyer or notary will register the transfer and mortgage documents and transfer funds to the seller’s lawyer or notary.

If you are selling a home, they will:

attending to execution documents

Costs of clearing title, including: discharge fees charged by encumbrance holders

After closing, deposit funds into the seller’s bank account or prepare cheque for seller to pick up in person. You are probably saying, “What’s the big deal?  Most real estate deals are simple and the secretaries do most of the work anyways.”  You would, in many cases, be right.  Nine out of ten residential real estate deals are fairly straightforward.  What if you are the odd man out, that unlucky tenth deal? For example, if you ask questions like: “I think my neighbour’s fence is on my land, what should I do?” or “I allowed the new buyer conduct minor renovation on my vacant condo & now the trades had a plumbing accident & water leaks to the lower floor, what should I do?  the notary cannot give you advice on what your recourse is.

One of the common aspects about  the notary – solicitor division involves the perception that notaries are somehow cheaper then lawyers.  Sometimes that is true but sometimes it isn’t.  Some notaries are more expensive than some lawyers and, of course, prices may vary from lawyer to lawyer and notary to notary.  One simple example, you wouldn’t know if they use first class or third class courier but it affects the time the Seller receive the funds from the transaction.

   I often decide on who I would like to work with based on:

1) if the lawyer or the notary they handle the file themselves or like most cases just supervise the preparation of documents.

  2) Can I communicate to the lawyer or the notary directly? or I can only talk to the secretary.

 It is fairly safe to say, however, that you tend to get what you pay for, whether it be a cheap notary or a cheap lawyer.




Tina Mak Personal Real Estate Corporation

Vancouver Radio Realtor AM1320

The Bridge from East to West since 1992


http://www.TinaMak.ca 温哥华中文地產綱站



Categories: Legal Matters
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