While it is a not a legal requirement to have a real estate attorney when buying a house, there are many benefits to having legal counsel in any real estate transaction.
In most states, a real estate agent or broker offers adequate assistance with drafting contracts and ensuring that titles are clean and free of any errors. However, in some states only certified real estate lawyers are allowed to handle contracts and title searches.
Since a house is likely to be one of the most valuable things you’ll purchase, it’s important to take necessary precaution to make sure your interests are taken care of.
Below are some of the benefits of having a real estate lawyer with you when buying a house:
Title searches are important in any real estate closing, as they ensure that the title is clean, ownership of the property is clear, and it is free from any legal claims, liabilities, unpaid taxes, and liens. However, problems can arise even after a title search is conducted. This is especially true if you use the seller’s title search agency to conduct the search. Since the agency will likely be using the same information from the previous title search, new problems may not easily be detected. If there are any problems that occur because of undetected errors in the property’s title, your real estate lawyer can advise you before the date of closing.
Contracts and Purchase Agreements
Except in states where real estate lawyers are required for drafting contracts, a real estate agent is usually the one who prepares the contract. Most agents use templates for contracts and this is where problems may arise. Template contracts might not include nuances in real estate laws in your state or area and this can lead to problems later on. A real estate lawyer can draft a contract that takes into account all state and federal real estate laws to ensure that no legal issues arise later on.
A real estate lawyer can also help you if there are any problems with alterations made to the property, whether existing or planned changes. For instance, the seller may have altered the property without taking into account zoning laws or you may want to add changes yourself that might not be legally possible. In such cases, a lawyer can assess the property from a legal standpoint and give you advise based on your needs.
During the date of closing, titles will be transferred from the hands of the seller to the hands of the buyer. Aside from title transfers, a closing statement should also be prepared to outline all payments and existing balances. If you are borrowing money to pay for the property, the lender’s representative or lawyer should also be present during the date of closing. A real estate lawyer can help explain the legal aspects of the transaction, as well as offer any advice should there be last minute changes to agreements. Your lawyer will make sure that your interests are protected until the very end.