is it necessary to have a lawyer when completing a real estate transaction and why

by Fleta Grant 4 min read

A real estate transaction usually doesn’t legally require a lawyer (although this does vary from one jurisdiction to the next) but having this legal expert on your side during many different transactions ensures a smooth procedure from start to finish. If you are buying or selling a home, it’s ideal to speak to a lawyer first.

The Bottom Line. Having legal counsel makes good business sense because of the complexities that come with real estate transactions. Experienced real estate attorneys can help to protect your interests. They ensure that your transaction adheres to the applicable rules of your state and municipality.

Full Answer

Do you need a real estate attorney to buy or sell?

Apr 17, 2018 · For example, the lawyer can assist with ensuring you have enough time to get financing in place, allow for the proper inspections to be done for the buyer, or that the deposit is protected for the seller. The lawyer can also assist with the preparation of the offer for either side. 2) Conduct the Necessary Searches

What does a real estate attorney do?

The biggest advantage of using a lawyer in a real estate transaction is that the lawyer, unlike the real estate agent, has no financial incentive for the real estate transaction to be successful. Additionally, since the real estate agent represents the other party, there is an inherent conflict of interest in the real estate agent also ...

Do I need a lawyer when buying a home in California?

Sep 01, 2001 · These issues may impact your legal rights and responsibilities. A lawyer can help you address these issues during preparation or review of the listing contract and the Contract To Buy And Sell Real Estate. A lawyer can also help in the review and analysis of the title commitment and related title documents.

Do I need a real estate attorney at my closing?

Do you think it is necessary to have a lawyer when completing a real estate transaction? Why or why not. List of Topics and Sub-Modules for Discussion. Unit 9 Discussion Discussion Topic Real Estate Laws Please read the following article before posting to the Discussion.FindLaw. Why you need a lawyer when you buy or sell a house.

Why do I need a real estate attorney?

Reasons to hire a real estate attorney even if it’s optional 1 You’re an out-of-town buyer. 2 You’re buying a property that is a short sale or bank-owned. 3 You’re buying a property that is part of an estate sale. 4 You’re buying a commercial property. 5 You’re buying a property that could potentially have some structural issues. 6 You’re buying a property in a problematic area such as a flood zone or areas with adverse conditions (tornado-prone, radon, toxicity levels, etc.).

Why do you need an attorney when selling a house?

You’re the heir or executor of a property whose owner is now deceased. You’re selling a house with an uncooperative partner. You have judgments or liens on the property.

What is the education required for real estate agents?

As part of agents’ licensing education, they’re taught and tested on real estate contracts used within their state, many of which also require continuing education courses and/or certifications on subjects such as ethics, buyer’s agency, distressed property sales, and more.

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Why do you need an attorney for a home purchase?

Here are a few reasons you might need or want an attorney to be part of your home buying team: State or lender requirement: Every state has slightly different laws regarding real estate transactions, and some states consider certain actions that are part of the process to be “practicing law.”. These regulations are often meant to prevent real ...

What is a real estate attorney?

A real estate attorney is someone who is licensed to practice real estate law, meaning they have the knowledge and experience to advise parties involved in a real estate transaction, such as a home sale.

Who is in charge of closing a home?

In some cases, a real estate attorney is also the person who’ll be in charge of your closing. In a home purchase transaction, both the buyer and seller can hire an attorney to represent their interests during the process. Or, in the case where an attorney is overseeing a closing where the home is being purchased with a mortgage loan, ...

Is it legal to buy a home?

Buying a home isn’t just a simple purchase; it’s also a legal transfer of a property from one entity to another. Because the legal side of this transaction can be so complex, sometimes it makes sense (or is even required) for home buyers or sellers to enlist an attorney who can look out for their best interests.

Do you have to have an attorney at closing?

If your mortgage lender requires an attorney to be present at closing, whether the buyer or seller covers the cost of the closing attorney will depend on how your contract was negotiated. If you want your own attorney in addition to the one required by your lender, you’ll also pay for any services they provide you.

What an Agent Can Do For Your

While you are not required to engage a real estate agent in your real estate transaction, it is quite common for people to do so, and, depending on your state's real estate laws, a real estate agent may be able to handle most or all of the different aspects of your real estate transaction.

What an Attorney Can Do For Your

When particular legal issues or difficulties arise in the context of your real estate transaction that are beyond your real estate agent's capabilities, a real estate lawyer is the appropriate professional to handle your situation. The most common tasks that a lawyer can perform in a real estate transaction include:

Advantages of Using a Lawyer for Real Estate Transactions

The biggest advantage of using a lawyer in a real estate transaction is that the lawyer, unlike the real estate agent, has no financial incentive for the real estate transaction to be successful.

What can a lawyer do for a listing contract?

A lawyer can help you address these issues during preparation or review of the listing contract and the Contract To Buy And Sell Real Estate. A lawyer can also help in the review and analysis of the title commitment and related title documents. These title documents are very important.

What is a lawyer for a house?

These issues may impact your legal rights and responsibilities. A lawyer can help you address these issues during preparation or review of the listing contract and the Contract To Buy And Sell Real Estate. A lawyer can also help in the review and analysis of the title commitment and related title documents. These title documents are very important. Furthermore, a lawyer can aid in preparation for closing or settlement. Although the following list is not exhaustive, it highlights some of the areas in the transaction in which a lawyer can assist you (in alphabetical order, not in order of importance).

What are the different types of brokerage relationships?

These include exclusive seller or buyer agent, dual agent, and transaction broker . Sometimes due to circumstances arising during a transaction, these relationships can change.

What does a lender order for its own records?

Also, a lender often orders and receives for its own records such important items as a survey, environmental report (if appropriate), and appraisal on the property being bought. Frequently, these items are not delivered to the buyer unless requested.

What is the difference between a lender and a buyer?

Lenders - Since a lender wants primarily to protect its loan and security, the lender’s position is mostly compatible with that of the buyer. However, the lender’s and the buyer’s interests may differ. For example, lenders receive different types of title insurance coverage and documentation than buyers.

What is a purchase offer?

The purchase offer contains the terms of the home purchase, as well as the rights and obligations of both the buyer and the seller. The purchase offer signed by the buyer becomes a legally binding contract when accepted and signed by the seller. Once the contract is signed, it is typically too late to make changes.

What is the key to a trouble free real estate transaction?

Clear communication among all parties and their representatives is the key to a trouble- free real estate transaction. Although there are occasions (such as with brokers acting as dual agents or transaction brokers) where confidentiality issues should be understood and closely examined before doing so, generally speaking complete sharing of all information and pertinent documents will help the broker/REALTOR® and lawyer do a better job for you and help you avoid later disputes.

States That Require A Real Estate Attorney

Although you may not want a real estate attorney, you may be required to get one by law depending on where you live.

What Does A Real Estate Attorney Do?

For those of you who live in a state that does not require a real estate attorney to transact, you might still want one if you have little-to-no clue what you’re doing. It’s always nice to have a seasoned professional represent you in a major financial purchase.

Where A Real Estate Attorney Can Be Especially Helpful To Buyers

The property lines are unclear and there have been prior disputes with the neighbor

Where An Attorney Can Be Especially Helpful To Sellers

Selling a property is MUCH more stressful than buying a property. A buyer, with his financing and inspection contingencies, can always back out.

How Much Does A Real Estate Attorney Cost?

The cost of a real estate attorney depends on where you live. If you live in an expensive city like San Francisco or New York City, expect to pay $250/hour and up. If you live in a less expensive city like Austin or Charleston, expect to pay $150/hour and up.

Questions To Ask Before Hiring A Real Estate Attorney

The easiest way to find a good real estate attorney is to ask your real estate agent for a referral. Any experienced real estate agent should know at least a couple highly qualified real estate attorneys. If they don’t, I recommend finding another agent.

Wise Up And Know The Rules About Buying And Selling Property

Given I live in a state that does not require a real estate attorney and I plan to buy in a state that doesn’t require a real estate attorney either, I probably will not hire one in the future.

Why is it important to have an attorney on your team?

If the deal falls through and the buyer or seller pulls out or if the seller doesn’t reveal certain problems with the property, then it is important to have an attorney on your team. They can save you lots of money which you could otherwise spend on hiring a brand new attorney and bringing them up to speed on your case. An attorney who is with you throughout the selling or buying process, is the person you need to turn to when problems rear their ugly head, before or after settlement.

Do real estate lawyers do title searches?

Your real estate lawyer knows all of the title searches that need to be performed to ensure that the person selling the property has the legal right to do so. They also know all of the legal documents that have to be collected, completed, signed and submitted on time. This is a massive undertaking for most people and a huge learning curve, which isn’t necessary if you engage an attorney.