Real Estate Attorneys: A Benefit in Home Purchases

Written by Realty Times Staff Posted On Sunday, 20 September 2020 05:00

The costs associated with buying or selling a home can add up quickly. Many buyers and sellers opt not to retain an attorney to save the several hundred dollars it costs to have one review the contract, deed and title, respond to inspection issues, and make sure the contract is performed according to its terms.

But the cost of an attorney is one that should not be eliminated in an effort to save money, in the end the lack of legal representation in the sale or purchase of a home could cost you much more than the money you saved.

It is common in some areas not to have an attorney involved in a real estate transaction, but consider the legal education or experience the closing or title agent, real estate agent or brokerage has relating to your legal interest in the title, deed, survey and other documents need to perform the successful purchase or sale of your new home.

 

Retain an attorney who specializes in residential real estate.

You might know an attorney who is a friend or relative, but if they specialize in corporate law or litigation, they might not be familiar with local practices regarding residential real estate contracts. Find an experienced attorney who specializes in real estate contracts, they can help educate you on what's in your best interest and what's customary from contract to closing.

 

Acquire a blank copy of the local real estate contract and review before you sign one.

Most local real estate boards have a form contract that has blanks for contract price, terms and conditions. You will feel more confident if you review a real estate contract long before you are asked to sign one. Ask your real estate agent for a blank contract after your first meeting. If you have questions about the contract ask your attorney to review it with you.

 

Have your attorney review all real estate contracts that you sign.

After both parties have executed a real estate contract, deliver a legible copy to your attorney promptly. Most contracts allow for a attorney review period of at least five business days. During this time your attorney can review and request certain changes to the contract or if need be void the contract.

 

Request a title insurance policy.

Your attorney will request a title insurance policy from the property seller. This policy insures you against any prior clouds on the title. The chain or history of title will be provided and will be reviewed by both sides' attorneys to look for any possible irregularities before the title insurance is delivered. The buyers attorney can request that questionable items be removed or insured over by the title insurance provider.

 

Confirm and update legal descriptions on your property.

This is one of the most important reasons to retain an attorney. Legal descriptions that are recorded in title and deed government records should accurately state the current and updated legal description of your property. These descriptions are difficult for lay people to read and take an experienced legal eye to catch mistakes which could impact the property your buying or selling.

 

Review property survey.

Your attorney should receive and review the property survey before closing or escrow to check for encroachments (when an adjoining property intrudes on yours), easements (the limited right of another to use your property) and verify parcel or lot dimensions.

 

Require your attorney to attend closing or escrow. From contract to closing is a marathon and the closing is the finish line. Your attorney should attend the closing or escrow to verify the smooth transfer of your property. Last minute glitches with possession, final through's and mortgages need the finesse of an experienced real estate attorney.

 

Review post-closing documents.

Most attorneys want to review all recorded documents related to the sale of a property after they are recorded, to verify that they were recorded as agreed to at the closing. These documents included the title, deed, mortgages, and satisfaction of mortgages.

 

Administrate and evaluate problems in contract to closing period.

The time between contract and closing can include some problems that only an experienced real estate attorney can respond to adequately. Unreasonable requests after a property inspection, weak mortgage ability of the buyer, missed earnest money payments and quite a few additional issues can bog down a contract after acceptance. An attorney that has handled and most likely seen it all in real estate contracts, is your best asset when a contract get bogged down.

 

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