Real Estate Lawyer: The Real Estate Closing Process Step-by-Step

The Real Estate Closing Process Step-by-Step

Purchasing a house is an intimidating task.

However, when you break it down into a step by step process, things get a lot less daunting.  Hiring a lawyer experienced in real estate can do that too.

Whatever the case, learn every step of the real estate purchase process first:

Step 1. Find the Right Home

There are many different factors that go into selecting the perfect home. Most of these factors are up to you to decide, things like cost, location, and the physical appearance of your home.

Once you’ve found a house that’s a good fit for you, it’s time to get serious. The ins and outs of real estate closings can be complicated. To ensure success it’s best to seek help from trustworthy professionals who are well versed in the buying and selling process.  First, get pre-approval on a mortgage with a mortgage lender to avoid any future disappointment. After that, you should hire an experienced Realtor.

Once you and your Realtor have found a good fit, they will draft up an offer to purchase.  This is a great time to take a look at the Real Property Report  and make sure there are no problems with the home.  This is also a good point to think about getting a real estate lawyer involved.   

Step 2. Set the Buying Process in Motion

You’ll want to start by forwarding a copy of your offer to purchase or purchase contract to your lawyer.  

Basically, both buyer and seller need a lawyer to make sure everyone stays honest, the money gets handled appropriately, and the purchaser obtains clear title.  

The lawyers will be responsible for holding all money and documents necessary for the transaction, from both buyer and seller, until the entire process is complete.  While one lawyer can act for both the Purchaser and the Seller there is usually not much cost savings for either party.  In most cases it is in the Purchaser and Seller’s best interest to each have their own independent lawyer to protect their interests.

Step 3. Conduct a Title Search

One of the first things your lawyer will do is search title at Alberta Land Titles. The title search yields all records and documents that are pertinent to the property.

From there, the documents found in the title search are examined to make sure there are no title defects, liens against the property, or other issues that cannot be rectified by the lawyers.

If nothing turns up here, you’ll be free to proceed with the transaction.

Step 4. Inspect the Home

Home inspections are absolutely critical.

Both basic home inspection and pest inspection are crucial to guarantee lasting satisfaction in your purchase.  They are very important to have done for most real estate transactions.

It’s crucial that you hire your own independent home inspector.  You certainly don’t want one connected to the seller in any way.  Anyone who has a vested interest in the sale is a potentially bad choice.

Step 5. Prepare Closing Documents

Once contract negotiations have been solidified, the Real Estate Lawyers will begin to prepare closing documents which will include a transfer of land.

In anticipation of the final closing, the buyer should round up all of the paperwork they’ve collected throughout the home buying process.

This generally includes but is not limited to mortgage documents including any mortgage broker’s contact information, sales contract, proof of title search, proof of homeowner’s insurance for full replacement cost.

Please note that you will be required to have picture identification with your full legal name to complete your purchase. Many homeowners are so excited to move that they go to Alberta registries to obtain a new Operator’s License. In Alberta,  when you get a new license the Government takes your old license. This has caused many new purchasers to have to delay their closing until their new identification is received in the mail.

Step 6. Give It A Final Once-Over

If you have negotiated a final walk-through of the property with your Realtor as a term of your purchase contract then this is done before finalizing the buying process.

It is most effective if done within a few days of the finalization. The purpose of this is to confirm that all conditions set in the sales contract have been met and no damage has been done since the initial viewing of the house.

Step 7. Close the Sale

You will meet with your Real estate Lawyer to sign your purchase documents and mortgage documents about 7-10 days before the purchase closing date. This appointment will take about 1 hour and during it the Lawyer will review all the documents with you and have you sign all the legal papers. Bring in any deposit money or down payment that is required to close the purchase at this time.

The Seller’s lawyer will have sent the Purchaser’s lawyer all the documents that are required by the Purchaser to transfer title to the Government of Alberta and in most cases the Purchaser’s lawyer will review the Seller’s documents with the Purchaser at this appointment.

On the Close date, the Purchaser’s lawyer will send to the Seller’s Lawyer the required money to close the transaction. The Purchaser’s lawyer will then send the documents to Land Titles for registration.

Once the Sellers has received the money from the Purchaser’s lawyer they call up the Seller’s Realtor and tell the Realtor to release keys. The Sellers Realtor then calls up the Purchasers Realtor and they make arrangements to meet the Purchaser to give them their keys to their new home.

Usually, this all occurs before noon on the closing date.   

Step 8. Make Yourself at Home!

At this point, you’ve successfully made it through one of the most momentous purchases of your life.  

It’s time to crack that bottle of champagne or celebrate however you know best—and commemorate this enormous benchmark.

And wear your new title proudly:


If you’d like some help making it through the real estate closing process with the least possible resistance, a real estate lawyer can make all the difference.  If you have a need of such services, do not hesitate to contact us today.