Clients often wonder why they need an attorney for a real estate transaction if they already have a real estate agent. Most of the time, a transaction will go through without either the seller or purchaser being represented by an attorney. After the closing, the seller and purchaser may feel they have saved themselves the cost of hiring an attorney since the deal went through. The problem with this rationale is that often times your attorney can identify and eliminate mistakes you would not know about until months or years after the closing. Your attorney could also have saved you from paying charges or overcharges at the closing.
Your attorney may also be the only one involved in the transaction who is protecting you against problems that can arise after the closing. Your real estate agent, mortgage broker, title company and others involved in the transaction are paid only if and when the transaction closes. Usually, they have little incentive to jeopardize a closing by bringing potential post-closing problems to your attention. I often see agents go a step further and have their clients sign a listing agreement containing a release of liability and indemnification clause when they are hired to help a client sell or buy property. In this situation, not only will your agent not be liable to you if you are harmed after the closing because of their mistakes, you will have to pay your agent’s attorney fees if he or she is sued because of the transaction.
I have represented numerous clients who have had to litigate to correct botched legal descriptions, contract errors and title defects in the underlying transaction. If caught in time, these errors could have been corrected or the client would have had the option to not close on the sale.
Often, people do not consult with an attorney until after they have already signed a purchase agreement. At this point, you are already bound by the terms of the contract. Although I can assist you at any point in your transaction, the best time to retain an attorney is before you sign any contracts.
Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or an investor involved in buying and selling residential properties, I can assist you in all your real estate purchase and sales needs including:
- Preparation or review of the contract for sale
- Evaluation of financing options
- Confirm the seller has clear title to the house
- Identify/clear title defects
- Verify compliance with applicable State and Federal laws
- Ensure compliance with the terms of the contract
- Prepare or review closing documents including verification of closing figures
- Explain the closing documents to you in plain, simple language
- Attend closing with you or in your place if you are unable to attend
To discuss your real estate transaction or case, contact me for assistance.