Lawyer Real Estate Fees

A real estate lawyer helps clients buy, sell, refinance or lease properties

Anna Dunaeva DLegal Anna Dunaeva October 11, 2022
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Lawyer Real Estate Fees

If you are looking for a lawyer to help with your real estate deal, you’ll want to be sure you understand the fees involved. Fees vary from firm to firm, so choose a firm with proven expertise and a real estate fee structure you are comfortable with.

Whether you are buying or selling, property sales are big transactions. You need a real estate lawyer who prioritizes your interests, mitigates risks, and provides you with a clear-cut billing structure. We explore what to expect when it comes to real estate legal fees in Alberta.

Alberta Real Estate Lawyer Fee

A real estate lawyer helps clients buy, sell, refinance or lease properties. They also handle all of the paperwork and legalities involved in these transactions. Real estate lawyers can help you with a variety of different aspects of your real estate deal, including:

  1. Drafting and reviewing contracts
  2. Conducting title searches
  3. Negotiating terms with the other party
  4. Handling mortgage paperwork
  5. Representing you and facilitating the property closing

A real estate lawyer will base their fee on their experience level, overhead, reputation, and the complexity of the situation. Get an estimate of how much time the lawyer expects to spend on your case before agreeing to a contract. By understanding your legal fees upfront, you’ll be able to better plan for your financial transaction.

Real Estate Legal Fee Structure

Some lawyers in Alberta charge hourly rates for real estate transactions. This means that you will be charged an hourly rate for the lawyer’s time, based on their experience level. In addition, they may also charge a retainer fee. This is an upfront fee that is paid to the law firm in order to secure its services. The average retainer fee for a real estate lawyer in Alberta can vary greatly.

In most cases, if your lawyer takes a retainer, their services will be paid out of it. However, once it has expired, you will be billed for the legal services or asked to provide another retainer. Your real estate lawyer should provide you with an agreement outlining this billing process.

Another common fee structure is a flat fee. This means that you will be charged a set amount for the lawyer’s services, regardless of how much time they spend on your case. For example, at DLegal we charge a flat fee for all standard real estate transactions.

Legal Fees vs. Disbursements

In addition to legal fees, you may also be responsible for paying the lawyer’s disbursements. These are costs that the lawyer incurs on your behalf, over and above the initial fee or hourly rate.

Your real estate legal fees are the flat fee or hourly rate you have agreed upon with your lawyer. Whereas disbursements are costs that the lawyer incurs on your behalf, over and above the initial fee or hourly rate.

When it comes to purchasing a new property, your real estate lawyer in Alberta must conduct a title search for the Certificate of Title, transfer the title to your name, register the mortgage against it, and more. It is likely that disbursements will be higher when you are buying a home vs. selling one.

It is common practice for lawyers in Alberta to charge disbursements. However, it would help if you asked for an itemized list of all disbursements so that you can keep track of what you are being charged for. For example, at DLegal we include standard disbursements into our real estate lawyer flat rate, so you don’t need to worry about it.

Real Estate Lawyer Fees

As you can see, there are a variety of different fees that you may be responsible for when hiring a real estate lawyer in Alberta. Be sure to ask about all of these upfront so that there are no surprises later on. Again, remember that GST must be added to legal fees and disbursements.

At DLegal, we carefully manage our time and prices and aim to make our fees accessible and predictable. Consequently, we offer flat legal rates for standard real estate, which include usual disbursements.

Other Closing Costs

Outside of legal fees, there are many more costs associated with buying or selling a house. Some of these include the following:

  1. Buyer’s Deposit: This is the amount that you must pay to the seller when you make you offer to purchase a home
  2. Real Estate Commission: This is paid to your real estate agents in exchange for selling your home. It is often paid out from the gross value of the sale.
  3. Title Insurance: If you are buying a home, your lender will often require title insurance to cover any past unknown defects on the property.
  4. Property Insurance Policy: Protects your home from losses or damages to your home or assets.
  5. Utility Charges: There are fees charged by your utility company to turn on or switch your utilities from location to location.
  6. Home Inspection: A contingency on the sale might be that the house must pass the home inspection for the offer to go through. The buyer will be responsible for paying someone to conduct this assessment.
  7. Appraisal Fees: An appraiser will need to assess the property’s value before it can be approved for a mortgage. This will be paid to the lender.
  8. Property Taxes: In Alberta, you will need to pay your annual property taxes once you have purchased a new home.
  9. And More

These are just a few of the most prevalent closing costs; however, it is not an exhaustive list. Everyone’s situation is different, and closing costs will vary.

Our Flat Real Estate Lawyer Fees

Not every lawyer can handle your real estate law inquiries. Experience matters, and a good real estate lawyer must have seen plenty of real estate transactions to provide the right advice.

At DLegal, our prices are very competitive and, in most cases, they contain all regular disbursements. This may include courier charges within Calgary, file administration, one tax search, one title search, land title fees, and more. However, review each service individually or contact us for more details. They are categorized by the price of the property for involved. 

Our flat rate for Purchase of Property is published here.

Check out our Sale of Property flat rate here.

Our legal fees for Mortgage Refinancing are published here.
When you work with DLegal we personally spend time with you to ensure you fully understand the process and the numbers. Having a lawyer that represents you and has your best interest in mind is necessary for closing a real estate transaction. Get in touch today for all your legal real estate needs.

Please note that rates at correct, at the time of writing. Review each service individually or contact us for more details.


The DLegal team is here to support. We will do our best to assist or connect you with those who can help.

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