“Why do I need a lawyer?” many a do-it-yourself-oriented homebuyer often asks. “Can’t real estate agents see me through?” Well, they can in most states. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they should. Although using an attorney can cost thousands of dollars, it is often money well spent. Read on to find out how a real estate lawyer will help you close the deal and avoid the pitfalls.
Most individuals can negotiate face-to-face with another party. However, the terms of the deal must be properly recorded in a contract for them to be legally binding. Attorneys can negotiate on your behalf and also make sure that the contract adheres to all state laws. Furthermore, they can address any specific issues that might affect the future use of the property.
In many states, the buyer and the seller have three days to review a real estate contract before it becomes legally binding. Some buyers and sellers aren’t aware of this. A lawyer will make the client aware of it, review the contract for legal glitches, make necessary changes, and insert useful contingencies.
Another vital service that attorneys perform is called a title search. Its purpose is to ensure that the property is free of any encumbrances, such as liens or judgments. The title search is essential because it reveals whether the seller has the legal right to sell the property. Although anyone can do a title search, an attorney will be able to do it faster and better. If they don’t do it themselves, they’ll often have working relationships with title search companies specializing in this service.
If the search uncovers something problematic, your attorney can counsel you on how to proceed. Suppose a title search reveals that the sellers must pay a lien or outstanding court judgment before selling their home. A lawyer might negotiate a price reduction on the property to compensate you for the delay. The lawyer may also provide the seller with suggestions or sources for financing so that they can satisfy claims.
Furthermore, attorneys can secure proof that judgments or liens have been resolved. That is important if you ever plan to obtain a mortgage or loan against the property.
When one or more parties are corporations, trusts, or partnerships, the contract preparation and the ensuing negotiations are complicated. An attorney understands these different types of business arrangements and their legal boundaries within your state’s law. The attorney will ensure that the contract is consistent with the law and the partnership’s, trust’s, or corporation’s charter agreements.
Real estate deeds often need to be filed at the county and state levels. An attorney will be able to do this quickly and efficiently. In some cases, the transaction might involve property in an area where certain types of construction are not allowed. If that happens, an attorney will be able to navigate the maze of state regulations so that you can complete the transaction.
If the transaction revolves around commercial property, securing an attorney is even more critical. The attorney will be able to cut through government red tape to establish your corporation or sole proprietorship as a valid business entity for state tax purposes. An attorney can also secure your actual business license through the municipality.