Need expert advice? Call Now - 204.946.5333 942 St. Mary's Road Winnipeg, Manitoba R2M 3R5

How to Choose a Lawyer (Who Won’t Screw Up Your Sale or Purchase)

Jun 17, 2017



You wouldn’t ask a dentist to perform your colonoscopy.

(At least I hope not)

Even if the dentist was your best friend.

Or offered to do it for free.


Because it’s not their area of expertise.

Their lack of knowledge could cause you some serious problems.

Instinctively, we know this.

But we have a blind spot about it when it comes to lawyers.

“Law is law” people seem to think. “How complicated could it be?”

They might not ask their tax lawyer to handle their criminal case, but people do routinely hand their real estate transactions to their family or business lawyer.


Check out some the kinds of law practices a lawyer can work in:

Criminal law
Aborginal Law
Business Law
Civil Law
Commercial law
Environmental law
Immigration Law
Labour Law
Legislative Law
Tax Law
Military law
Personal injury law
Property and real estate law

That’s thirteen, each of which is its own convoluted web of pitfalls, obscure rules, loopholes, and red tape. And we’re just scratching the surface.

Starting to get the picture?


Goal one in hiring a lawyer for your real estate transaction (and you’ll need one whether you go DIY or through an agent), is to hire someone who actually practices real estate law.

Case Study: The Man Whose Lawyer Didn’t Know Better

One man wanted to buy a house. Despite my advice to contact the real estate lawyers I recommended, he insisted on using his corporate lawyer.

“With all due respect, a corporate lawyer will not have expertise in real estate law.” I said.

Still, he went forward with his plan. 

During the process, my spidey senses tingled and I recommended that he get a survey to ensure the property was free of any encroachments. I had a feeling about that shed in the back yard…

The offer on the house came back that the buyer’s offer was approved, but that the home was sold as-is with the seller not promising the home to be free of, or from any encroachments making me strongly suggest obtaining a survey to ensure no problem in this respect.

“What does that mean?” he asked.

“Basically, it says any consequences that arise out of that would rest on your shoulders, not the sellers. If there’s a problem or a building has to be removed or something, it will be your cost, not theirs.” I said hence the need for a survey to be done before taking possession. 

The offer was sent to the lawyer as instructed and the sale was a go.  

Days before possession, I received a desperate phone call from that buyer. “Jeff! The lawyer didn’t order a survey! Can you get someone right away?!”

It was Friday of the first long weekend of the year. I rolled my eyes and resisted the urge to say, “I TOLD you so!!!” Instead, to try to do damage control, I set to work phoning every surveyor I’d ever heard of, finally hitting on one who could make it that weekend.

“My wife is going to be upset I’m taking extra work on the long weekend. I’ll have to charge this guy triple my fee.” He said.

“He’ll be glad to pay it just to have you come out right away.” I said.

And he was glad to pay it.  Luckily, with the survey done and an encroachment discovered (I knew it!), we were able to save him the grief that would have resulted had that gone through unnoticed.

The lawyer may have been a heck of a corporate lawyer, but didn’t know real estate.

Even in real estate law though, there are specialties – commercial law and residential law are quite different. And condomium's law, well, That’s another story navigating the Mazel Ike legislation.... Especially since the legislative changes in 2015. With condos, you’re not just buying a home, you’re buying into a corporation. You’ll definitely want a learned lawyer for that so you know you’re protected.


A Few More Critical Tips:


  • NEVER use the same lawyer as your bank.
    Sometimes a bank may recommend using their lawyer. It seems friendly, doesn’t it? Remember though, that the lawyer is first loyal to the bank, not you. Get your own dedicated, un-tethered lawyer who is first loyal to you.
  • NEVER use the same lawyer as the buyer or seller.
    For pretty much the same reason.
  • AVOID using the same law firm as your bank or the buyer or seller.
    Even with different lawyers in the same firm. Better to have as separate a representation as possible.


Want that list of real estate lawyers I recommend? Check it out here.


Category: Real Estate Issues

Leave a Reply

(Your email will not be publicly displayed.)

Captcha Code

Click the image to see another captcha.

Tag List

Tenants (2)
Customer Satisfaction (4)
Winnipeg Realtors (17)
Renting a home (2)
Bank approval (1)
Estate (1)
Buying a home, Fear, Nervous, Patience, Real Estate Help (2)
Home Automation (1)
Re-marriage (1)
Security (1)
Aging (1)
Health (1)
Legal Pitfalls (1)
Integrity (1)
Manitoba Life Leases (1)
Addictions (1)
A day in the life of a realtor (1)
Real Estate Appraisal (1)
Choosing a home inspector (1)
Comparable Market Analysis (1)
FAQs (3)
Appraisal (1)
United Airlines (1)
Helpful Service (2)
personal (1)
Real Estate Tips (8)
Manitoba Real Estate (2)
Real Estate Mortgage Insurance (1)
Customer Care (1)
mentorship (1)
For sale by owner (1)
Market Evaluation (2)
home inspection (4)
Sell (3)
Choosing a Lawyer (1)
Vegetarian Lifestyle (1)
Condominium (2)
Winnipeg Real Estate (19)
Financing (1)
Buy (2)
christmas (1)
Prices (1)
Insurance (1)
Cost of services (1)
Value for your money (1)
Online Reviews (1)
Real Estate Industry (12)
real estate marketing (2)
Death (2)
Manitoba (1)
Funny experiences (1)
Will (2)
Patience (1)
Lawyer (2)
Renting (1)
Home Security (1)
CREA (1)
Advertising (2)
Vegan (1)
Homestead Rights (1)
Last will and testament (1)
Property Maintenance (1)
Capital Gains (2)
Jeff Stern (2)
Agents (2)
agent resources (1)
Real Estate Market (4)
Homelessness (1)
Smart Home (1)
Market Forecast (2)
Fees (1)
Market (1)
Responsible Pet Ownership (1)
Life Insurance (1)
buy house winnipeg (1)
condominiums (1)
FAQ (2)
Buyers (2)
Artificial Intelligence (1)
winnipeg real estate agent (21)
negotiation (1)
Helping People (2)
Due diligence (2)
Real Estate FAQs (3)
Pride in work (1)
Selling A Home (12)
Residential Tenancies (2)
Being Helpful (1)
Fear (1)
Working for friends (1)
client resources (1)
Open House (1)
Comparative Market Analysis (1)
investing (1)
Winnipeg Life Lease (2)
Animal Rescue (3)
Cats (2)
professionalism (3)
Real Estate Business (6)
Assisted living (1)
Cat rescue (1)
Manitoba Condos (2)
Estate planning (2)
Property Features (1)
philanthropy (2)
Mortgage (3)
Retirement (1)
Home features (2)
Real Estate Help (1)
Pre-approved Mortgage (2)
Relocating (1)
Bequests (2)
Inheritance (1)
Mortgage approval (1)
Bereavement (1)
Problem Solving (1)
marketing (4)
Fiduciary duty (1)
Manitoba Condominium (1)
Not so funny experiences (1)
Pet adoption (2)
realtor winnipeg (3)
winnipeg real estat (1)
Maple Leaf Foods (1)
Private sales (1)
Wills and Estates (1)
winnipeg realtor (3)
Jeff Stern REALTOR (2)
CMA (1)
real estate agent winnipeg (2)
Commission (1)
Pet Loss (1)
Selling (5)
Private selling (2)
Deposit (1)
Downsizing (1)
Offer to Purchase (1)
Fsbo (3)
Sellers (2)
Pet Care (3)
Winnipeg properties (6)
seniors (2)
Responsible Pet Care (1)
Real Estate Negotating (2)
Real Estate Photos (1)
Homes Winnipeg (1)
Homestead (1)
shelter (1)
Customer care (4)
winnipeg condo (1)
Mortgage Insurance (1)
Property Value (1)
Property Pictures (1)
Representing Friends (1)
Volunteering (1)
Customer Service (16)
Markets (3)
Manitoba Securities Commission,Manitoba Real Estate Association, Real Estate Agent, Real Estate Licence (1)
Consumer Advocacy (1)
Life Lease (1)
Internet Security (1)
Real Estate Winnipeg (20)
Closing costs (1)
Realtor (8)
Buying A Home (17)
Effective Copy (1)
Blended families (1)
Service (2)
Pets (3)
Condos (3)
Landlord (2)
Gen-x (1)
Listening (1)
Mortgage Life Insurance (1)
Nervous (1)
Advice (1)
Public Relations (1)
Income Tax (1)
Aging in place (1)
Hiring a Lawyer (1)
Animal care (3)
buyer representation (2)
Excellent Service (1)
Education (1)
Customer Reviews (1)
Real Estate (39)
Winnipeg (7)
Professional Behaviour (1)
Relocation (1)
Real Estate Advertising (1)
PR (1)
Customer expectation (2)
Market Report (1)
real estate ads (1)
Needs (1)
Technology (1)
Ad Writing (1)
Real Estate Law (1)
Reviews (1)
Wants (1)
Listing Photos (1)
Divorce (1)
Buying (5)
Real estate advice (1)
winnipeg house for sale (1)