It is always a good idea to get expert advice when making a major life decision. Purchasing real estate is generally the largest financial decision we make so it makes sense to have a real estate attorney look over the documents and provide counsel during the process. Although it may seem like common sense, it can help to justify hiring an attorney by having some clear reasons. Three of the most common include:
#1: Advocating for your interests.
The real estate agent likely gets paid if the deal goes through. This can mean the agent may not act with your best interests in mind.
In contrast, the outcome of the deal generally does not impact the attorney in these situations. The state bar association also holds the attorney to high professional standards. A failure to meet these obligations could mean loss of their law license. As such, the attorney is motivated to provide you with honest and accurate answers to your questions.
#2: Drafting a contract instead of using a fill-in-the-blank form.
Fill-in-the-blank forms are common but do not always provide the best protection, particularly when it comes to more complex transactions. In these situations it is often best to get forms drafted to the specific transaction.
Even standard forms leave some room for negotiation. Provisions that you can and often should negotiate include the timing of the closing, the impact of the results of an inspection and the role of the title search as well as the reach of the title insurance.
#3: Help navigating any potential legal issues.
Legal issues can arise that a real estate agent or title company simply cannot solve. Problems may become apparent before the closing that require repair, there could be a tenant in a potential investment property that you would like to evict, or there could be an issue with escrow. It is important to have representation on your side that will advocate for your interests — not just focus on closing the deal.