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Real Estate Law

Nov 28, 2022

Doormat’s Pricing Philosophy

4 minute read

We built Doormat because we weren’t happy with the way traditional real estate legal services were provided. One of our biggest complaints was about all the confusion around pricing, so we vowed to do better. Now we admit, pricing in this space isn’t simple, but it all comes down to transparency. Traditional law firms don’t do a great job of explaining pricing ahead of time, which results in sticker shock when the final bill comes. We don’t ever want our clients to experience that.

How is Doormat Different?

At Doormat, we are committed to transparency in pricing. We advertise a price, explain the services that this price includes, and outline the additional costs you might expect. We also give you the tools you need to understand what the additional costs are for and how much they might be.

Based on our research, the average fee charged by real estate lawyers for a property closing in the Greater Toronto Area is $1,250 plus fees and disbursements. Our base fee is 25% lower than that average. We don’t promise the lowest price out there, but we do promise a fair price for an amazing closing experience that you’ll feel good about. This goes for all of our services provided - property closings, refinances, and ownership changes.

What if I have a particularly complex situation?

Our pricing page outlines everything that our basic price covers but some engagements fall outside of the scope of our standard offer. If your needs exceed the scope of our standard service, we will provide you a custom quote before you decide to engage us as your lawyer. We want you to be able to make an informed decision when selecting which company you decide to work with.

Additionally, if any unforeseen needs arise as we work on your engagement that go beyond our standard service, we will let you know right away what the additional cost will be so that you can budget accordingly.

What are the additional costs beyond the lawyer fee?

For a detailed breakdown of what costs you should expect, check out our blog on the topic here. For the purposes of this blog, I’ll just touch on a few that you may not be familiar with and that your real estate lawyer is responsible for facilitating for you - disbursements, land transfer tax, and title insurance. 

  • Disbursements are the costs that your lawyer incurs in order to close on your property. More details can be found in the next section.  

  • Land transfer tax is the amount charged by the provincial (and sometimes municipal) government on the purchase of a home. It is calculated based on the total purchase price of the property.

  • Title insurance is the one time fee paid to secure an insurance policy that protects property owners and lenders against losses related to the property’s ownership. 

In addition to the above, don’t forget about real estate agent commissions, mortgage broker commissions, property insurance, and mortgage default insurance. 

What about disbursements?

We only charge for costs that we incur specific to your property. We do not charge for our internal operating costs - such as photocopies, postage, and bank fees - the way other firms will. 

Specifically, we charge for the following third party service costs: 

  • government document registration fees

  • other fees charged by the government

  • Teranet fees (title search and writ search fees)

  • the cost of a condominium status certificate, and

  • payment for letters from creditors' lawyers regarding similar name executions

Can I offer feedback about pricing?

Doormat always strives to improve your experience as a client so we welcome any feedback that you have. Please let us know if you have thoughts about our pricing model, good or bad, so that we can build the best service possible for closing real estate transactions in Ontario.