What's the Point of a Real Estate Attorney and Why You Would Need One
Depending on your locality, you might need a real estate attorney before buying a property or not.
The Role of a Real Estate Attorney
A real estate attorney oversees the transfer of a property from the buyer to a seller. Their role is to ensure that the transaction is within the confines of the local law. They also help you (the client) to understand your legal obligations as well as the terms in the contract. Besides, the lawyer can also negotiate the deal on your behalf.
Indeed, the rising demand for real estate lawyers has inspired legal firms such as Hampton & Royce to start offering such services.
Why you need a Real Estate Attorney
A home is an expensive investment. Real state transactions also tend to be legally complicated than other sales. The following are the reasons why should consider hiring a real estate attorney.
Understanding the Sales Contract
If you are selling a property, the first step usually involves reaching out to the real estate agent to assist you with getting potential clients. After you get a buyer and agree on terms, the next step is signing a formal contract authorizing the transfer of ownership. Here, a real estate lawyer can ensure that the process is seamless by conducting a background check to establish if the property on sale has underlying legal issues.
Avoid Vague Terms in Brokerage Agreements
The majority of sellers sign brokerage agreements without carefully analyzing the details. Because the agreements are often prewritten, they can cause issues when an unusual circumstance arises.
If you hire a lawyer, they will advise you accordingly before signing the brokerage agreement. They will also negotiate better terms regarding the value of the property and the commissions paid to the real estate agent.
Understanding the Purchase Contract
A purchase contract is an agreement between a buyer and seller validating the transfer of a property to the buyer. A standard purchase contract covers the following:
- What happens if the buyer is unable to pay the required amount for the property?
- The condition of the property
- Were previous transfers of ownership lawful? (if applicable)
- Terms of payment.
A real estate lawyer can help you with customizing the aspects mentioned above to suit both parties involved in the sales deal.
Title searches are usually ordered by the buying party and their mortgage financier. Regarding this, a real estate lawyer can review the title search and establish whether the property has ownership issues from past, whether it is insured, or any other issue that is considered pertinent by the buyer.
Furthermore, the lawyer can serve as a consultant to the parties involved in a real estate transaction. For instance, they can issue a clarification on the tax liabilities resulting from the transaction. The attorney will also advise on how the seller can capitalize on certain provisions to reduce the resultant tax debt.
How Real Estate Attorneys Are Paid
Similar to other legal practitioners, real estate attorneys bill you on an hourly basis. However, some attorneys charge flat rates for specific services such as drafting real estate contracts.