Whether you’re buying or selling property, it’s wise to consider using an attorney for your next real estate transaction. That’s because using an attorney during the sale or purchase of property is a good way to make sure your interests are protected throughout the entire process. Below are five ways a real estate lawyer can help make the selling and buying process as straightforward as possible and ensure that you’re protected against unseen costs and potential lawsuits.
1. They Represent Your Best Interest at the Closing
Even in states where it’s mandatory that an attorney be present at the closing, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau states that this attorney primarily represents the mortgage lender — not the buyer or seller’s interests. A real estate attorney can represent you as a buyer or seller and is familiar with the various processes and steps involved in real estate transactions, says Forbes. Additionally, Zillow states that there are local, state and federal laws that come into play with buying or selling a home. An attorney specializing in residential or commercial real estate will be familiar with these laws and help to ensure they are adhered to throughout the process.
2. A Real Estate Attorney Can Answer Your Questions
Forbes notes that an attorney can also be helpful if you have questions, which can be reassuring during such a large financial transaction. With so much at stake, it makes sense to have a lawyer who represents your interests — one who will be able to help when questions arise regarding the closing or changes in the contract. If you hire an attorney early in the process, Forbes says that they can review your contract with a real estate professional before you sign it.
3. They Can Negotiate Next Steps After Inspection
HomeLight notes that an attorney can also help your real estate professional negotiate next steps once an inspection report for the property is completed — requesting a repair credit, requiring fixes be made or renegotiating the sale price.
4. An Attorney Can Advise You During Complex Property Transfers
Selling property can get complicated, and an attorney can help you navigate special circumstances. Zillow notes there are situations in which having a real estate lawyer on your side is very important. Here are just a few examples:
- There is a lien on a home you are selling.
- It is a joint sale, which means you are selling a home with someone who is not your spouse, like a sibling.
- You are selling a home that was inherited.
In each of these situations, there may be an issue that needs to be resolved before a property can be sold. For example, if there is a lien on the home, an attorney can help you make sure the title is clean before you put the house on the market.
5. You Are Selling a Home That is a Short Sale
A short sale is a complex process, and it’s often a situation in which having an attorney on your side can be important. Since your lender is allowing you to sell the home for less than the amount you owe on the mortgage, there will be extra steps during the sale process. A real estate attorney can help you navigate the situation.
What Does a Real Estate Attorney Do at a Closing?
The days leading up to a closing and at the closing are typically when you will work the most with a real estate attorney. If you establish an escrow account, they can help walk you through the process and review any paperwork for errors before you sign it. They will also review any paperwork related to the sale prior to the closing to make sure the language is correct and that fees, such as commissions, mortgage balances, taxes and insurance, are noted appropriately. At the closing, you and your attorney can review the necessary legal documents together. An attorney will also review them for accuracy, and can explain each of the sale and mortgage documents as you sign them, says Forbes.
ADDITIONAL Benefits of Hiring an Attorney
An attorney negotiating on your behalf may help prevent a sale from falling through, says HomeLight, particularly if any unusual issues crop up. A real estate lawyer can help make the process as straightforward as possible and ensure that you’re protected against unseen costs and potential lawsuits. Bottom line — it is important to have someone knowledgeable represent your interests and assets during a significant financial transaction like a real estate transfer, and they may even save you money in the long run.
If you have questions about working with a real estate attorney, Landtrust Title Services can help. Please contact us today at [email protected] or by phone at (312) 528-9210.