How to Get a Mortgage: Legal Support

Meeting with your/the lawyer can be overwhelming and stressful!

You should contact a lawyer early on in the home buying process, as he or she will be able to provide you useful information about the process and costs associated with buying a home.

You can put your mind at ease to know what to expect.

The Lawyer’s Responsibilities

The lawyer is responsible for a number of things:

  • notifying the utility companies (water, hydro & gas as applicable) and the City of Ottawa of the change of ownership,
  • examining title to the property, obtaining necessary assurances from the sellers in relation to a number of issues, obtaining a policy of title insurance and acting on the mortgage lender’s behalf

The lawyer will advise you of the final closing figure.  This amount takes into account the legal fees and disbursement, land transfer tax, document registration fees, title insurance premium and adjustments.

In most cases, this figure is available 5 business days before the closing date

The Buyer’s Responsibilities

As a buyer you also have responsibilities:

  • It is your job to provide your real estate agent and mortgage broker with your lawyers information as they will be the ones to forward a copy of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale to the lawyer as well as inform your lenders of your lawyers information
  • You will have to arrange for home insurance before closing and have your insurance agent/broker contact your lawyer. This is because your mortage lender requires that your lawyer obtain proof of property insurance
  • A few days before the closing date you will have to meet with your lawyer as they will need to obtain the closing balance from you (by certified cheque or bank draft payable to the lawyer’s or the lawyer’s firm’s trust account), as well as to verify your identity and for you to sign the purchase and mortgage documents. To verify your identity, the lawyer will require 2 original pieces of identification at least one of which is a valid driver’s licence or passport.  The other can be a credit card issued by a major bank, SIN card or Canadian birth certificate

Closing Day

On the closing day, your lawyer will arrange for the delivery of the closing funds to the seller’s lawyer. Once keys and funds have been exchanged and the Transfer and Mortgage are registered, your lawyer will be able to release keys to you. This usually happens in mid-afternoon, so you may want to avoid booking a moving truck for that morning


After closing, your lawyer will prepare a reporting letter and will send it to you by mail together with copies of all relevant documents for your records. Don’t hesitate to contact your lawyer’s office if you have any questions after your transaction is complete.

Special thanks to Leslie Kirk, from Kirk Law Office for her assistance in preparing this information.

That should sum up what happens at the lawyers when you are buying a home. That being said, if you have any other questions, do not hesitate to contact me.