The Law Society of Upper Canada (“LSUC”) recently implemented new rules for advertising legal real estate prices. To summarize the new rules, a lawyer may advertise a price for real estate legal services if:
- The price is inclusive of all fees, legal services, disbursements, and third-party charges (except for HST, Land Transfer Tax and a few other exceptions).
- The lawyer adheres to the prices as advertised for every transaction.
The second point is especially important… what’s worse than being told one price over the phone only to be billed something completely different following the close of the transaction?
I have always honoured my pricing and provided all-inclusive fees and disbursements as it relates to my real estate clients since opening the doors of my practice in 1996. I did so without the benefit of the LSUC mandating the “regulatory approach” to package pricing.
Unexpected Costs and How to Avoid Them
Often, while price shopping, people are misled with seemingly lower, allegedly comprehensive pricing, for either the purchase, sale or refinance of their home.
Offices will quote low prices for legal real estate services, but once the transaction closes, the final price for the transaction is often substantially higher. This is due to undisclosed expenses for disbursements, which were left out at the time of quoting the transaction costs.
This leaves clients discouraged at the actual costs of the transaction, costs they did not expect, nor did they plan for at the time of entering into the retainer.
I want to encourage all prospective real estate clients to be smart if you are going to be out there price shopping. Remember to always ask the lawyer’s frontline staff to provide you with a confirmation, in writing, as to their pricing. You can insist upon knowing the costs inclusive of all fees and disbursements at the time of your first contact.
Transparency at Every Step
I am proud to say that I have always complied with the LSUC regulations affecting “all-inclusive pricing” long before the LSUC undertook to regulate the practice. My office has always offered all-inclusive legal fees and disbursements, as relates to my real estate pricing, in order to be fully transparent with clients.
From the first contact with my office, clients are furnished with complete package-pricing that we stand behind! Whether you are buying, selling or refinancing a house we know it can be a strenuous financial process. I take pride in our all-inclusive approach that enables clients to strategize ahead of time for their financial planning goals.
You can always count on my office to be completely transparent about our prices for real estate transactions. They are always listed on our website and also available by simply clicking here.
I would also like to point out that our repeat clients and referrals (from local real estate professionals) are honoured with a gift certificate for $50.00 OFF our already reasonably priced real estate packages. If you make reference to the flyer and the $50 Gift Certificate during your initial contact with our office you too will be given the $50.00 discount off of our pricing.
I hope this piece has been informative and that you feel equipped to ask all the right questions while price shopping for a real estate lawyer. If you have any more questions about legal real estate services please feel free to contact, Nicole, my Senior Real Estate Law Clerk, at our office 519-822-6089 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Nicole will be happy to answer all of your real estate questions!
Cheryl Stelzer is a sole practitioner in Guelph Ontario, specializing in Family Law, Real Estate and Estate matters.Cheryl’s goal is to empower clients in moving forward in attaining their goals. If you require legal advice please contact her by email or by phone at 519-822-6089.