So in British Columbia, when you’re using a lawyer or a notary, the prices are going to be pretty similar. You are ranging in between $1,000 dollars to $1,600 after taxes and disbursements. Now, a notary is typically known to be a little bit less expensive than a lawyer, and lawyers will often also have different prices. But typically you’ll end up around $1,300 to $1,500 or somewhere around that range.
Can you actually do the real estate conveyancing yourself if you’re not a lawyer?
That’s an excellent question, and I personally wouldn’t recommend it. This is just way outside of anybody’s normal wheelhouse of knowledge that it’s worth the money to hire a professional; get a lawyer or a notary to do it properly.
That way you’re not hit with any unexpected expenses, tax issues that you might run into. For example, if you’re doing all the paperwork yourself for first time home buyers, a tax exemption or GST exemption, you may be able to do it yourself and all the power to you, but it’s a lot better in the long run if you hire someone else to do it. Lawyers and notaries are insured, so if there’s something that goes wrong you can go after the lawyer or the notary. So it’s important to always hire a professional, especially when you’re dealing with one of the largest purchases that you are probably ever going to do in your life.
What if you’re outside of British Columbia when you’re doing a real estate purchase?
This is unique but our team deals with it quite a bit. If you’re in China for example or even just one province over in Alberta and you need to purchase or sell something in BC, you need to get a BC licensed lawyer to help you with the transaction. If they’re a BC licensed lawyer in Alberta and you can find one or even in Hong Kong or Beijing, then great, you can go to them and you can do all the documentation with them. Now, keep in mind, they may not have the knowledge of the local area, geographical spaces, any of the issues that might be here, or they might also not be fully versed in any of the tax law.
What we recommend is hire a lawyer that is in the city you’re purchasing in, whether that is Kelowna or Vancouver or wherever your are, get them to do all the documentation and then have those papers couriered or sent over to the lawyer where you are located and then you can sign in front of that lawyer.
They will then send the documents back to the BC lawyer so they can complete the conveyancing. That way, you know that you’re being fully taken care of and protected and that the knowledge of the lawyer that you’re dealing with is actually for the area that you are purchasing.
So should you hire a notary or a lawyer?
This is often a question we get and at the end of the day, both are going to do a perfectly good job.
It’s a fairly straight forward transaction, which is why the fees are usually set pretty standard. Now, if you’re going to be getting into a more complex deal other than just purchasing or selling a residential property with maybe a mortgage, then you may want to look at considering to ask the notaries and the lawyers does this fit within their wheelhouse?
Because not every single notary and not every single lawyer has knowledge about every single transaction. So it’s important to ask whether or not they can complete the transaction for you professionally. At the end of the day it comes down to who you know. If you already know somebody and they are a lawyer or notary and you want to use their service, go ahead!
Our team refers a lot to both notaries and lawyers, so it really depends on the client’s preference, whether or not you want to go and actually use a notary or lawyer, it’ll end up being your decision.
They both can complete the transaction. It just depends on what kind of service you want to be using and what kind of transaction you’re doing. If it’s just a simple real estate conveyancing then both should be capable of completing it.
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