lawyer vs notary



Every real estate transaction, whether buying or selling a home, involves contracts and legal elements. We HIGHLY suggest using legal representation to review contracts, prepare necessary documents and ensure a smooth transaction. The cost is comparatively low (approximately $1000) considering the support and security that having a professional on your side can give. Not to mention, we are talking about an investment of 100s of thousands of dollars. The question then becomes, should you use a Lawyer or a Notary Public?

For a straightforward real estate transaction (most fall in this category), you’ll be happy with either kind of representation. If your deal involves interesting / unusual / unexpected bits, then you may want to consider the differences.


On the Completion Date of the transaction (the day money and title are transferred between Buyer and Seller), your Lawyer or Notary Public will:

  • Conduct a title search to ensure you are purchasing the property from the rightful owner, and that the property is free of all charges and liens (legal claims on the property).
  • Prepare the Statement of Adjustments detailing how much money needs to be transferred between the Buyer and the Seller. Often this involves re-imbursement of pre-paid or future bulls, so the Statement of Adjustments indicates what the final sum of money the Buyers and Sellers will exchange.
  • Prepare closing documents including the title transfer, mortgage papers, property transfer tax forms, etc.
  • Connect with the Seller’s Lawyer to register the transfer, ensure the Seller is paid and complete the deal!


The differences between a Lawyer and Notary Public include the following:

  • A Lawyer can represent you in disputes and in court, a Notary cannot.
  • A Lawyer can give you advice if you have situational questions or how to proceed if something unexpected happens after the accepted offer and before the possession date. A Notary cannot give legal advice, they have just enough legal power to register and sign off on documents.

Once your offer is accepted, you will search for legal representation (we have great relationships with both Lawyers and Notaries that we would be more than happy to recommend). Feel free to meet with representatives, ask questions, or inquire about their services – you have to be comfortable with this person before you proceed.

Buying and Selling real estate is a major transaction and your legal representation is another member of your professional Real Estate team – we are all here to help make your transaction smooth, fulfilling and educational.