How Much are Lawyer Fees when Buying a House?

how much are lawyer fees when buying a house

You finally have saved enough money for your down payment. Congratulations! But, wait… A friend of yours came to you and asked something about closing costs and how much are lawyer fees when buying a house. What?! You did not expect that at all.

A lot of people underestimate closing costs, while they can eat a huge part of your budget. Approximately, they can take from 2 to 5% of the purchase price of your future house. For example, your home costs 300.000$, then closing costs can be something between 6.000$ and  15.000$. That is a lot!

These numbers are truly impressive, but they are still just numbers. These estimates are approximate because real closing costs depend on many factors, like a house you are buying, are you a participant in a special program, where you are buying a house, etc. Of course, there are also ways to make them lower and we will mention them later through the text. Before doing sp let`s regard general expenses which we experience every month.

Types of cost-of-home ownership expenses

We understand that we are going to lose a lot of money, but where exactly will they go? Good question. The prosperous homeowner has different things he or she should pay for. The first and most general thing is housing costs. 

This includes taxes for the property, your monthly mortgage payment which consists of interest and principal or rent if you have not decided to buy your own house yet. There are also various kinds of insurance, like disability insurance, or general insurance for a house or car, which protects them from fires and other natural damage.

Secondly, there are expenses INSIDE a house. Take heart, electricity, and water, for example. Add here internet, television, and telephone (who still uses it, by the way?). Thirdly, there are things OUTSIDE a house, for example, you can pay for landscaping or lawn maintenance, or snow removement in winter. 

Finally, there are general expenses, because even if you have a roof above your head you need to eat, drink, and dress up. If you have pets you need to take care of them too. There are also transportation costs or medical costs if something bad happens.

We can conclude that cost-of-home ownership expenses can be divided into:

  • General
  • Inside a house
  • Outside a house
  • Situational

And after all that you still think how much are lawyer fees when buying a house? Well, that is a good question, but before asking it, try searching affordability calculators. We do not want to bully you, but maybe you just do not have enough money to pay it…

Types of Closing Costs

Let’s talk now about how much are lawyer fees when buying a house, the approximate cost of these closing costs and their types, your favorite section! Generally, closing costs are a lot of things that a real estate agent has to do. 

The first one is the inspection of the house — you have to pay for that. If you have bought a home for less than 1 million$ cost-of-home-ownership expenses can be as low as 1% of the house price. Of course, you can ask your real estate agent to lower this option to you, but if the house is not perfect or needs repair you might have to pay twice or even more!

The second thing is title search — if there are any problems with your credit history, a homeowner may decide not to lend a lot of money to you. If they do not, this costs typically around 350$.

There is also a Land Survey Fee Or Certificate Of Location Cost which can cost you 999-1999$! If you have not been provided with an up-to-date survey or certificate of the location you may need to buy one in the end. However, title insurance may be accepted instead, and it costs only about 400$. 

Another type of closing cost is legal costs which answer the question of how much are lawyer fees when buying a house. Well, approximately it takes a minimum of $500 + GST/HST. This includes a title search, drafting the title deed, and preparing the mortgage.

Estoppel Certificate Fee is interesting too. You will need it if you are buying a condominium or strata unit (except in Quebec). So far, it is the cheapest fee and costs approximately 100$.  

You can also experience different kinds of moving expenses. Here is a list of them:

  • Moving Container Cost
  • Truck or Van Transportation Cost
  • Temporary Storage Rent for the move
  • Secure Storage Rent for the move
  • Temporary Storage Rent
  • Manpower cost 
  • Temporary Storage Rent for moving goods

A lot of other fees, insurances, and taxes are calculated separately. like mortgage default insurance, home inspection fees, and prepaid property taxes. However, you can be sure that you can lose at a minimum of 500$ on each of them and 2.000$ maximum.

The last two options are the most interesting ones. An appraisal is a valuation of a house`s worthiness, which can cost from 100$ to 800$. The last one, transfer taxes — is paid by the buyer. This money covers all city and state transfer taxes that have been charged on the real estate for its new owner. It can be as low as 1%, or as high as 6%. Cash buyers (people who do not use loans) may be able to avoid these closing costs.

How to Reduce Closing Costs

Now let’s talk about something more pleasant before you change your mind completely. In some cities, there are low cost-of-home ownership expenses. But as we all know it is not always like this. To make sure your closing costs are reasonable you should ask your real estate agent for an estimate (called Loan Estimate) of the total cost of the transaction. It will help you to make a reasonable decision on purchasing your new house.

There are some things which may reduce these closing costs, although not all of them are suitable for every situation. For example, you can get a deduction on your mortgage default insurance if you have a down payment to cover 20% of the purchase price. This is something that requires good credit history.

You should not forget about the mortgage insurance. Even if you are able to pay for this fee yourself, it is recommended to buy it because this is an investment in your own home. It covers lenders in case you are unable to make payments on your mortgage loan because of unemployment, disability, or death. All loans originated after July 1, 2009, must be insured unless they are for an amount that is less than $100,000 or has a term that is less than 5 years. However, you can save money and not buy it, but it is your risk if something bad happens.

If you have a mortgage debt that has been used to pay taxes or interests on a previous loan, taxes and interests will be added to the loan amount. If you pay off your mortgage debt with cash, there is no additional cost. However, if you make monthly payments with your credit card, your interest rate will be higher. That is because the interest or finance charge from your bank or financial institution may be applied to the principal payment.


So, now you know how much are lawyer fees when buying a house, or at least now you know what they are. If now you feel like they are too high to be accepted, try to use cost estimators. They show how affordable things can be for you. Also, hire an experienced real estate agent who has the best interests of the buyer in mind. He or she will help you to define all your requirements and can advise on available financing options that match your budget.

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