top of page

Four Things You Should Consider Before Hiring a Real Estate Lawyer

Agent handing over house keys to the new owner


Toronto’s Picov & Kleinberg has been providing real estate law services to people in the GTA since 1978. Real estate transactions are not always straightforward, and whether you are selling, refinancing, or buying property, unexpected complications may arise. Having an expert Toronto real estate lawyer to guide you through the process will help you avoid complications and bypass pitfalls. Here are four things you should consider before hiring a real estate lawyer in Toronto.




#1: Does the real estate lawyer have experience with similar properties or transactions? 


Consider the type of property you are buying or selling. Is it a residential home? Condominium? Cottage? Is it an investment property, commercial property, or a sale of a business? Is the transaction pursuant to a Separation Agreement or spousal buyout? There are unique issues relating to each of these types of transactions, so you want to ensure that the real estate lawyer you hire has relevant expertise. A real estate lawyer with in-depth, specialized knowledge will be able to foresee potential challenges and deal with them before they become problems.


#2: Has the real estate lawyer handled transactions in that location before?


Consider the geographic location of the property and ask the real estate lawyer if they have handled real estate deals in that neighbourhood, city, or province. Laws and requirements (for example, zoning or land use restrictions) differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and there may be unique issues or risks related to the property in question because of its location. You want to be represented by a lawyer who is aware of and up-to-date on any local concerns that may impact the property or affect the real estate deal.


#3: What are the expected legal fees and closing costs?


Will the lawyer charge a flat fee or hourly rate? Get a quote for legal fees, and also ask the real estate lawyer what closing costs are expected (closing costs may include title insurance, land transfer tax, the Ontario Law Society’s Transaction Levy Surcharge, and land title registration fees). Ideally, you should shop around by contacting several real estate lawyers or law firms. Toronto real estate lawyers from one firm to the next may have very different rates, and it can be difficult to know what rate is fair unless you obtain a few quotes to compare. Generally speaking, the more complicated the transaction, the higher the legal fees, and closing costs are usually greater for purchase when compared to a sale. Even if your transaction seems fairly straightforward, be wary of rock-bottom fee quotes – you get what you pay for, so weigh cost and quality.


#4: Is the lawyer able to provide you with a plan of action?


When contacting Toronto law firms to get a quote for fees and closing costs, also ask the lawyer for a brief outline of the steps involved in your real estate transaction, including how and when those steps will be taken, and who in the firm will be working on your matter. Typical steps may include tasks such as reviewing the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, conducting the title search to ensure clear title is passed, ordering title insurance, obtaining property tax information, and meeting conditions for payout of an existing mortgage or registration of a new mortgage. If the lawyer is not able to provide you with a brief plan of action, it could be a sign that the lawyer does not have the experience you need. If the lawyer is not willing to take the time to briefly review the steps with you at the outset, consider what that tells you about how it will be to work with that lawyer throughout the transaction.




Toronto’s Picov & Kleinberg Barristers & Solicitors prides itself on providing clear legal advice and attentive, personalized service to its clients. Since 1978 our Toronto real estate firm has built a strong reputation with clients and trusted relationships with real estate agents, brokers, surveyors, planners, banks and other lending institutions, and other Toronto real estate lawyers. Our experienced real estate lawyers will guide you through each step so you feel confident and well-informed throughout the process. Contact us today at 416-488-2100 or by email at to discuss how we will draw on our expertise and connections to ensure your real estate transaction goes smoothly.  


bottom of page