Online ClosingsFixed Closing Cost $999*

Should You Hire a Real Estate Agent or Lawyer to Buy a House

For most people, the biggest and most significant purchase they will ever make is buying a home. While it is common for buyers to seek a real estate agent to help them with the process, there are also many reasons to hire a real estate lawyer. A real estate lawyer can help you with the legal aspects of taking on a property and dealing with any issues that may arise. Here’s what you need to know about hiring a real estate agent and lawyer.

Should You Hire a Real Estate Agent or Lawyer to Buy a House

Why Hire an Agent?

Buying a house or can be a complex process with many tasks involved, which is why most people prefer to hire a real estate agent to help them. Paperwork can pile up and it is helpful to have an expert around to go through each step with you and ensure you don’t miss a beat. There are also additional tasks like hiring home inspectors, negotiating over who must pay for any repairs, maintaining good relationships with the sellers through their agent, and much more. These tasks come naturally for an experienced real estate agent and they usually have contacts with inspectors, mortgage brokers, and other professionals who can make your buying process simpler.

Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Lawyer

Some provinces, like Ontario, require a lawyer for the registration of a home. There are many benefits to hiring a lawyer. When buying a home—the biggest purchase you will likely ever make in your life—there are legal issues that may arise that your real estate agent cannot help you with. With a lawyer, you’ll get legal answers to your questions. He or she will typically get involved after you sign an agreement with your agent, but a good lawyer will be available before just in case.

For example, if your new home has an illegal in-law unit with a tenant that you need to evict to rent that space to a friend or relative, you’ll need a lawyer to tell you whether you can do so or not. Or, if you want to rent your home for an extended time before you need to buy the property, you will need a lawyer’s help to write up a unique lease.

Here are some more reasons to hire an experienced real estate lawyer:

  • The provincial law requires you to use a lawyer
  • You are a buyer without your own real estate agent
  • There is a concern with the property or deal
  • You are unsure about the tax consequences
  • You plan to remodel the exterior of the home
  • Your instincts tell you to have a lawyer to consult with

How Are Agents and Lawyers Paid?


Real estate agents typically work on commission and receive their pay after your home search is over, the contract has been negotiated, and the transition is complete. They tend to do a lot of work without a huge reward because many buyers they work with may lose interest or are unable to close the deal. The seller is typically the one to pay the commission to both the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent, which is usually about five percent of the sale price.

There may also be variations on the typical commission arrangement of the realtor. Some buyers prefer to hire an agent and pay the commission, hoping it will make the agent more loyal to the interests of the buyer. In other cases, the agent may be willing to perform limited tasks for the buyer at an hourly rate, instead of a full commission.


Real estate lawyer fees vary. Some lawyers charge by the hour with rates ranging from $150 to $350 per hour, while other will charge you a fixed fee for their legal services, plus disbursements Depending on whether you are buying or selling, and how complex the transaction is, your closing costs usually will include the costs of completing the transaction, your title insurance, HST, registrations, and land transfer tax. In big cities like Toronto, the costs can run up to $1,500. It’s a good idea to have your lawyer provide you with a fixed quote for closing, so that you aren’t surprised down the road with additional fees and charges you weren’t expecting to pay.

Why Both a Real Estate Agent and a Lawyer Can Be Beneficial

The closing process can be difficult, whether you are the buyer or seller, and there are many reasons why you should work with both a real estate agent and a lawyer. Each brings their own set of services and expertise to the table, so with both on your side, you have a better chance of having a smooth transaction and successful buying/selling process.

Contact Zinati Kay – Real Estate Lawyers for Buying a House

Both your real estate agent and lawyer can help you get the best results, but a lawyer goes the extra step in providing legal counsel. They can give you peace of mind as you make the biggest purchase of your life. With a lawyer you will have protection from being held legally responsible for any mistakes a previous owner may have had.

Looking for the right mortgage lawyer in Toronto to help you? You’ve come to the right place. Zinati Kay – Real Estate Lawyers is a full service residential real estate law firm that provides fixed closing costs to our clients when they buy, sell, mortgage, or title transfer their property. We have over 25 years of experience helping clients navigate the complex process of buying, selling, transferring title, or refinancing their mortgage. We have closed over 21,000 real estate transactions to prove it! If you want a professional real estate lawyer by your side as you buy, sell, refinance, or title transfer your property, contact us at (416) 321-8766 for more information about our services.