Why You Need a Lawyer When You Buy or Sell a House


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If you’ve been thinking of selling your house, you might have been advised to hire a real estate lawyer. But is this really necessary or not? This article aims at answering this question.

With that said, it’s worth mentioning that real estate transactions entail complicated procedures. This process involves the law of real property – which raises specific issues of practice.

What Does A Real Estate Attorney Do?

In order to understand why you need the assistance of a lawyer when selling or buying a house, it is quintessential to know what one does. For one thing, the attorney acts as a negotiator, making the transaction in a peaceful manner – so that everything is fair for both parties.

After the selling price and buying terms are settled, the attorney takes over. He/she further reviews the contract, to ensure that everything is correct. Usually, the contract is reviewed after the home inspection, and after the completion of several repairs and adjustments.

In addition, if any last-minute problems do emerge, the attorney will take care of them, discussing with the real estate agent or, if the situation asks for it, a representative from your lender.

Avoid Unclear and Vague Terms

The process of purchasing or selling a house isn’t as easy as it sounds. And this is where the lawyer comes in: he/she can help you deter some of the most commonly met problems that can emerge with a home sale or purchase.

For example, many sellers choose to sign a brokerage agreement. This doesn’t cope with a range of legal problems. Realtors prefer using standard form, assuming that they cover all circumstances that could arise, or thinking that they can be customized depending if anything unusual were to happen.

This is far from it, though. Considering that there isn’t such an agreement, the seller can be held responsible for paying brokerage commission – this applies even if the sale doesn’t take place. Another common scenario is being required to pay more than one brokerage commission.

The thing is that you can avoid this problem. How? If the agreement enables the seller to negotiate on his or her behalf, you can eliminate this problem. Aside from that, an experienced attorney can inform you regarding the consequences of multiple listings. He/she can further negotiate the realtor’s rights, in the case in which the seller no longer wants to sell the property. In the position of a seller, you should depend on the guidance and professional advice of an attorney – especially in reference to brokerage agreements.

Even if the agreements are in a standard form, the terms should be thoroughly explained to the seller and, if needed, they should be revised. Furthermore, it is also an attorney’s responsibility to assess whether an agreement has been properly signed or not.

Purchase Agreements

Indubitably, the purchase agreement is one of the most important documents in the truncation. In some cases, standard printed forms can be helpful. However, a lawyer can clarify what the forms entail, and make additions or changes, in order to reflect the seller or the buyer’s wishes. The purchase agreement usually addresses a range of critical aspects.

For example, it should outline whether any changes or additions to the property have been done lawfully or not. In addition to that, it should contain information regarding payment, escrow specifications, down payment, as well as the legal consequences if the closing doesn’t occur.

As most home buyers finance a significant amount of the purchasing price of the home from a lending institution, the purchase agreement should be as specific as possible.

What If Title Issues Arise?

During the selling process of a home, problems could emerge related to the title of the home. Let’s say that you want to sell a home, but due to unpaid debt, you are unable do to so. Another typical scenario is trying to sell an inherited house. In the case in which not all siblings agree on signing off on the selling of the property, a lawyer can assist you in the negotiating process so that you can make complete the purchase.

If You’re Purchasing a Foreclosed Property

A foreclosed property could seem like an appealing, convenient purchase for many. This could help you save money. However, the selling/buying process can be quite tricky. With this in mind, it might be best to get a lawyer’s assistance before you start looking at properties. Most people start with a lengthy list of properties and end up narrowing it up to a few homes only.

Keep Control over the Purchase

Presumably, the closing is the most important part of the purchase/sale transaction. The title is transferred from seller to buyer, who is responsible for paying the balance of the purchase price. Many people choose to comprise a closing statement prior to the closing, which outlines the credits and debits to the seller and buyer.

In this scenario, an experienced attorney can be helpful at explaining the amount, nature and fairness of the closing costs. This comes as a guarantee in the case of every San Antonio Real Estate Attorney – a skillful and informed litigator can make the process go smooth. When it comes to signing the deed and mortgage documents, an attorney can ensure that everything is executed accordingly, avoiding possible complications.

The thing is that the closing process can be quite confusing, because of its complexity. There is also the possibility of last-minute disputes regarding delivering possession or personal property. In case of disputes, your rights could be at risk.

In summary, a lawyer’s guidance during the selling or buying process of a home is really valuable, as shown in the points described above – especially if it’s the first time you’re purchasing a home, or you’re selling the home yourself. But these aren’t the only scenarios, in which an attorney is needed. Legal issues could arise, as well as other complications that could slow down the process or preventing it from completion.


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