Mortgages must be registered with the province. For this, a lawyer is involved in most provinces.
Lawyers (or legal agents) generally charge the following for this service:
- For purchases: $1,200 to $1,500
- For refinances: $1,200 to $1,500
- For lender switches: No charge (unless your mortgage is a “collateral charge”)
Lender switches are where you simply change lenders with no other changes to the mortgage. This typically happens at renewal, but doesn’t have to.
The above fees are estimates and can vary. Always get an exact quote for your lawyer. These estimates include miscellaneous fees (called “disbursements”), but other fees can sometimes apply.
For example, extra fees apply if you ask your lawyer to:
- Take someone off title
- Postpone a secured line of credit behind a new lender
- Pay out an inordinate number of other accounts with refinance funds
Note that some lenders offer refinance packages whereby they pay your legal or appraisal fees. Most of the time their rates are higher than lenders who don’t offer rebates. You’re often better off paying the fees yourself to get the lower rate.