Be sure to select a lawyer properly. Although price should be a factor, do not let it rule your decision. You will get what you pay for! I've had clients use bargain basement lawyers and everything has gone fine, but be prepared for minimal service. Usually you will not even meet your lawyer, only his assistant. The assistant oftentimes will point to where your signature is required and that's about it. It can be O.K. if you are very comfortable with the process and if there are no problems. I've found that the large firms definitely have real estate specialists but they usually work only within a narrow field and they are not usually too interested in a home purchase transaction.
That is the attraction of a large firm - very specific advice and quality counsel, and believe me you pay for it. Usually the best lawyer is in a small to medium-sized firm and is well versed in real estate transactions. I have several that I use and you are welcome to call or e-mail if you would like my list.
What your lawyer will do...
Your lawyer will contact the Seller's lawyer with any questions or issues regarding title and costs that have to be resolved before closing can take place. The lawyer will also ask you how you want to be registered on the title to the property.
You should contact utilities, phone and cable companies to have services put in your name and confirm that the Seller has arranged for final meter readings. If the Seller has not, notify your lawyer.
Meanwhile, your lawyer will be busy gathering a number of different reports, certificates and clearances from various offices. The lawyer will be making sure that property taxes on the house are up-to-date, and that any caveats or liens (outstanding obligations) registered against the property are satisfied and removed from title. Your lawyer will make sure that what you've agreed to buy is what you'll get - nothing more and nothing less.
Your lawyer will review & verify the title transfer documentation, prepare a statement of adjustments, review other closing information provided by the Seller's lawyer and help you deal with any problems if they arise.
Five to ten business days prior to closing, you'll meet with your lawyer to review and sign the closing documents. Bring certified cheque(s) with you to cover the costs involved. Your lawyer will let you know what the amounts are before your meeting. If your cheque is not certified, it could easily hold up the transaction.
Note: Make sure you arrange for house insurance prior to your meeting with your lawyer. If it is not in place on the closing date, the mortgage will not be funded to complete your purchase