6 Reasons Why You Need a Real Estate Attorney
Buying or selling a house comes with a lot of annoying, jargon-heavy paperwork. To handle these proceedings effectively, and make sure you don’t get screwed, you may need a real estate attorney. Click here to find out why they’ll help and save you money in the long run.
Did you know that more than 5,000 existing home sales take place in the United States every month?
Or that in 2017, the country’s housing stock value rose by a whopping 6.5% ($2 trillion) in total?
That’s right. These figures tell us that homeownership is still a big part of the American life. That goes for both the personal and financial aspects of a consumer’s life.
After all, house prices this year alone already averaged at $291,660.
With that kind of money, the expertise of a real estate attorney can come in handy to ensure your investment pays off. Or, as a seller, that you can get the best price for your once-beloved home.
But why exactly do you need the services of these real estate legal professionals? That’s what we’ll help you figure out–so keep reading!
1. It May Be a Requirement in Your State
All 50 states and the District of Columbia have varying real estate laws. However, 22 of them (including D.C.) require an attorney’s presence when it comes to property-buying transactions.
For instance, according to the South Carolina Supreme Court, an attorney should take control of all real estate closings. This is especially true for sellers in the state.
As such, this means that property owners wanting to put their house in the market have the legal responsibility to involve a real estate attorney. Here’s where you can read more about such laws.
2. Layman’s Terms Only, Please
If you’re in the market for your first home, you most likely have a limited real estate vocabulary.
This is true even if you’ve already worked with another type of lawyer before. That’s because legal terms in the housing market are different from that used in other areas.
For example, do you know what a “disclosure form” is? If not, then know that as a buyer, the seller should supply you with this document.
It’ll tell you everything you need to know about the property, including the following:
- Structural defects
- Condition of the plumbing and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems
- Presence of pests (termites, rodents, etc.)
- Nuisances (house noises, nearby construction, etc.)
- Lawsuits surrounding the property title
This isn’t a complete list, but as you can see, it’s a must-have for a buyer. The last thing you want is to spend a lot on your first home–only to end up shelling out even more for repairs or pest control.
3. Prevent or Resolve Title Issues
Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, a problem with the property’s title is one of your biggest nightmares.
For example, let’s say the home you want to sell is part of a divorce settlement. Under the law, you have complete ownership of the property. The problem is, your former spouse’s name is still on it.
In this case, your real estate attorney can help you change this so that the title will have only your name in it. This way, you can sell the house faster without any legal issues. Nor would you have to involve your former spouse.
What does this have to do with buyers?
Well, say you find the perfect home and you want to move in as soon as you can. But, seeing as there’s an issue with the title, this means you’d have to wait longer.
With a real estate lawyer by your side, you have improved negotiating power. This can then help you move forward with your big purchase.
4. Keeping Away from “Court-Disfavored” Properties
Before you start planning your big move into that dream home, make sure the property itself isn’t what the real estate courts consider as “unfavorable.” In other words, a house that involves a contract for deed.
Keep in mind that unlike standard home sales, a contract for deed means that you (the buyer) may have to make good on all your payments without any leeway. When you miss a payment or default, the seller can already foreclose the property. You’ll have no recourse–which means you may have to start looking for another home again.
From a seller’s point of view, a contract for deed may also put you in a disadvantageous position. You need to make sure the terms satisfy all your state’s laws. If you still want to push through with it though, then an attorney specializing in real estate laws is an absolute must-have.
5. Valuable Help When Buying a Foreclosed Property
A foreclosed property offers an attractive investment for buyers wanting to save money. But this doesn’t mean you’ll find the purchase itself easy.
For starters, most sellers of foreclosed houses (real estate owned) sell them as-is. In other words, if there’s anything that needs fixing, then you’d have to shell out money for the repairs. Also, these properties often have little to no room for negotiation.
We’re not saying that you should stay away from all such types of properties. However, it’s best that you have an attorney help you decide whether it’s a sound investment. Your lawyer can even help you explore other housing options to ensure your purchase will be worth it.
6. A Real Estate Attorney Can Help You Buy or Sell Without a Hitch
Every home buyer or seller out there wants their transaction to go off without a hitch.
But in the real world, problems can and do happen. It’s during these times the need for a real estate attorney become even more apparent.
For instance, you’ve already made an offer on that property you’ve had your eye on. You had a great conversation with the seller. But then, after a week or so, he/she becomes unresponsive.
There are many reasons for this. As an example, the seller may have received a higher price from another buyer. In this case, a real estate lawyer can help you ensure the purchase still goes through as what you’ve agreed on.
Home Buying Made Easy with the Right Legal Pro on Your Team
Regardless of which side you are on–the buying or selling side–you’ll want to work with a real estate attorney.
It’s one of the best strategies to make the home buying or selling a success, with little to no additional stress.
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