Everything You Need to Know about Real Estate Attorneys

When you purchase or sell a house, there are many professionals involved. The transaction can be aided by your real estate agent, home inspector, or lender. You may not be aware of the role that real estate attorneys play in a transaction. This guide will help you understand the role of a real-estate attorney.

What does a real estate attorney do?

Real-estate attorneys are licensed to practice law. They specialize in residential or commercial real estate. They are familiar with all aspects of real estate transactions and can represent sellers, buyers, or lenders. Although they can represent buyers and sellers, real estate attorneys cannot represent both the buyer and seller in one transaction. A buyer and seller can both use the same attorney in the same transaction.

Some of the duties real estate lawyers are qualified to do include

  • Conducting a real estate closing
  • Preparing and reviewing real estate documents
  • Collecting and distributing escrow
  • Helping amend a title or legal issue
  • Transferring a deed for inherited or sold property
  • Arranging loan documents for a mortgage

Do I need a real estate attorney?

There are several factors you should consider before deciding whether you need a real-estate attorney. First, certain states require that attorneys be involved in real-estate transactions. They can prepare legal documents and conduct closings. States frequently pass new legislation. Rules can differ by region within the states. Talk to your agent to learn more about your state’s requirements.

Even though your state does not require a real-estate attorney, it is worth hiring one to help you and your agent during the real estate transaction. A lot of home sales will not require a real estate lawyer to be involved. It can be a comfort to have an attorney review your contract, documents, protect your rights, and deal with any complicated legal issues that might arise. Real estate attorneys are also available to assist with non-standard transactions such as short sales, estate sale, bank-owned property, and buying properties out of state or homes that have structural problems.

How do I find a real estate attorney?

If you are considering having an attorney represent your interests when buying or selling property, it is important to choose the right one. You have a few options to begin your search:

  • Asking friends, family, or coworkers for recommendations
  • Asking your agent for a referral
  • Utilizing your state’s Bar Association directory
  • Using a legal review website

From there, you’ll want to fully understand the background of your attorney and how they can help you. To gauge the qualifications of an attorney, make sure to ask lots of questions.

These are some common questions that you might want to ask.

  • How long have you been practicing real estate law?
  • How much experience do your have with my type of transaction
  • How many residential transactions would you recommend each year?
  • Who else will work on my transaction?
  • Do you charge an hourly or a flat fee?

You may believe that everything else is just a formality after the offer has been accepted. The closing process is not easy. Use this guide to know what to expect.

Read More