Should I Have My Own Attorney For Residential Real Estate Transactions?

Residential Real Estate Transactions

Buying a home will probably be the largest and most significant purchase you will make in your life. Having an experienced real estate attorney who will protect your interests can help you avoid problems with a home purchase or sale.

Residential real estate transactions involve the law of real property, which is unique and can involve issues that require an experienced real estate lawyer who is trained to deal with these problems.

If you're selling your home and using a real estate agent, you'll be asked to sign a brokerage contract which may be a standard form that might require certain provisions that aren't suitable or does not cover unusual circumstances. In addition, these contracts determine who is liable to pay the brokerage commissions. Having an attorney review the brokerage contract before you sign is a good idea.

While the home is being marketed, real estate agents, representing each party, typically handle negotiations between the buyer and seller. Once an informal agreement is reached, buyer and seller enter into a purchase agreement, which is the formal written contract of the sale.

Even the most straightforward real estate transaction involves a large number of documents, all of which should be thoroughly reviewed by an attorney before you sign to ensure that the final documents accurately reflect what you've agreed to.

Most buyers need to finance the purchase with a mortgage. The legal commitments required for certain mortgages can be complex. In some cases, purchase agreements contain requirements to protect sellers that require the buyer to obtain a commitment for financing the purchase. Your attorney can review loan documents and explain the important provisions of the documents before you sign.

Your attorney can also verify that the property title is clear. The property title is searched to satisfy the lender and the buyer. Finally, the property is transferred from the seller to the buyer, and the seller receives the purchase price bargained for in the contract.

It's not uncommon for issues to arise during a home inspection or final walk-through of the property. What happens if a buyer has an inspection of the property that uncovers problems with termites, asbestos or radon? What are the legal consequences if the closing does not take place? What happens to the down payment?

The closing is when the purchase and sale transactions are completed. The deed and other closing papers are signed and the title for the property passes from seller to buyer. Even at this late stage in the transaction, it's not unheard of for issues to arise. There could be discrepancies in the final closing cost statement, required documents can be missing or the other party may attempt to change the agreement at the last minute. Having an experienced real estate attorney will help to protect your interests and resolve any problems.


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