Can buyers and sellers share a lawyer, retirement units taking longer to sell


Sharing a lawyer with your buyer is not the way for home sellers to save money.

Dear David,

I’m selling my house. Can I save money if I use the same lawyer as my buyer? – BUDGET MINDED

DEAR BUDGET: Moving can be a pricey venture. I understand the desire to save where you can, but sharing a lawyer with your buyer is not the way to do it.

Here in Ontario, industry rules are different for Realtors and real estate lawyers. A Realtor is technically allowed to offer “multiple representation”, which means they can represent both sides in a real estate transaction. There is significant potential for conflict of interest in this scenario, which is why I try to avoid it.

Conversely, lawyers are prohibited from representing a buyer and seller in the same transaction outside of a few specific circumstances, such as the transfer of title from one family member to another. While a buyer and seller are not permitted to share the same lawyer, they can retain different lawyers employed by the same firm.

In my opinion, every buyer and seller needs their own professional representation. The vast majority of real estate transactions run smoothly, but for those that turn a bit sideways, a buyer or seller needs a team fully committed to their sole interests. Without it, they may be left feeling like they got the short end of the stick.

PRO TIP: We all like to stretch a dollar where we can, but the old expression “penny wise and pound foolish” applies in this case. I’d never advise you to compromise the protection of your largest asset to save a few hundred dollars.

Dear David,

I’ve been watching a particular senior’s complex for a while. It’s usually rare to see a unit up for sale there, but currently there are three listed at the same time. What has changed? – CURIOUS

DEAR CURIOUS: Sales patterns are indeed a little different lately. Last year, retirement lifestyle units were in such high demand that they seemed to sell almost instantaneously. To snag one, we often had to show it the day it popped up on the MLS system.

Since the pandemic started, this sense of urgency has calmed down somewhat. Most retirement-aged buyers and sellers appear to be sheltering in place, in accordance with public health guidelines. Those who are still moving seem to be doing so strictly out of necessity. With fewer casual movers in the mix, adult lifestyle units are taking longer to sell.

PRO TIP: Once the fear passes and the coast is clear, I expect we’ll be back to seeing a high demand in this category. While the current lull is likely temporary, a slower pace may allow for prospects we wouldn’t otherwise see. If you hear opportunity knocking, rest assured that measures are in place to protect buyers and sellers throughout the moving process. #AskDavid #Advice