Anyone purchasing real estate property should be acquainted with the responsibilities of their real estate lawyer. One particular responsibility for every real estate transaction is the obligation of the lawyer acting on behalf of the buyer to perform a search of title. The title search is necessary for a variety of reasons. To list a few, the lawyer discovers the name(s) of the property’s registered owner(s), the name of property’s current mortgage provider, the principal amount owing on the mortgage, and the date the mortgage will expire.
The title search is a critical step in the real estate transaction, and quite possibly the most important step taken toward ensuring the transaction runs smoothly. In the process of conducting the search, the lawyer can determine if legislation concerning the Planning Act has been contravened; non-compliance with this legislation is fatal to any intended transaction. The lawyer can also determine if there are any registered liens on the property. If registered liens are discovered, it is the responsibility of the lawyer to deal with them immediately in order to avoid the serious consequences that can result if they are not handled properly.
Time is the essence of title searching. By conducting a search in a timely fashion, the diligent lawyer is able to provide the lawyer acting on behalf of the seller with a letter of requisition regarding any outstanding issues associated with the property. This letter can be explained as a series of inquiries and requests, with which the seller must comply, excepting exemptions in accordance with the conditions of the sale, arising as a result of a proposed purchase.
When the seller’s solicitor receives the letter of requisition, the seller becomes obligated to resolve any issues that are detailed therein. In other words, this letter serves as a point from which communication begins between the legal representatives of the buyer and the seller to solve legal issues related to the property in question.
Once the title search is complete, the lawyer is in a much better position to provide an opinion of the property to the relevant parties, such as prospective lenders, who would rather secure their loan with a lawyer’s opinion of the property’s title before furnishing financing to the buyer, or insurance providers, for example, who require that the buyer’s lawyer is able to advise them of the state of the title to ensure the well-being of a title insurance policy before it is provided to the new owner(s).