Real Estate News
By: Greg Mallia
The practice of real estate in Ontario, and specifically, in Hamilton, has become nothing short of a roller coaster ride during the past 30 months. From record-level increases of housing prices, historically low interest rates, bidding wars, unconditional offers, and other novel strategies aimed at successfully securing a property listed for sale, the Hamilton real estate community, including lawyers, has had its fair share of excitement and challenges alike.
One recurring challenge that has been omnipresent throughout the careers of solicitors past and present, has been the topic of costs for the completion of what can be described as routine real estate transactions: namely, the closing of purchases, sales and refinances of single-family residential properties.
Many purchase clients are cost-conscious, having leveraged much of their budget on the purchase price of a new property. This creates pressure and a strong desire to reduce the costs of closing the transaction, some of which are not anticipated until just before closing. Until recently, most costs associated with these transactions were unremarkable and not necessarily a noteworthy issue.
As the real estate market in Hamilton took flight, clients amazed at the rapid increase in the price of real property were similarly shocked when learning of the costs associated with completion of transactions. One such cost is the fee charged by DoProcess (a subsidiary of Dye & Durham Corporation), for use of its software Unity. Unity serves as an assistive tool in preparing documents required to complete real estate transactions, among other uses.
The increase in the fee for the use of Unity drew ire from the real estate bar. On April 11, 2022, the Real Estate Subcommittee penned a letter to DoProcess, outlining its concerns resulting from DoProcess incrementally increasing its transaction fee for the use of Unity nearly tenfold in less than a two-year period. This price adjustment dramatically increased the cost of completing a real estate transaction and continues to cause considerable frustration and angst among clients. Other organizations, such as the Federation of Ontario Law Associations (FOLA), also submitted written expressions of concern to DoProcess.
As of the writing of this article, DoProcess has not offered a response to our letter. The Real Estate Subcommittee encourages interested readers of this journal to view this letter by requesting a copy from the HLA, along with the anticipated response from DoProcess, once provided (no response was received as of the submission date of this article).
Readers are also encouraged to offer comment to this Subcommittee on how these changes, or others, have affected your respective practices, so that we may consider further dialogue with DoProcess, or other vendors as appropriate. When issues arise that directly affect our clients and our practice, this committee is dedicated to listening to the concerns of our members and taking action to protect against unfair actions in the marketplace. With the strong support of our membership, we will continue to be advocates and proud representatives of The Hamilton Law Association.
Greg Mallia is a Partner at Regency Law Group.
He can be reached at:
Email: [email protected]
You can also contact the chairs of the Real Estate Subcommittee about this matter:
Mark Giavadoni, Chair
Li Cheng, Vice-Chair