Should I Consult a Lawyer When Buying & Selling Real Estate?

Most people desire to buy a home at some point in their lives, and the first person they usually speak with is a realtor. However, the first person they should speak with is their attorney. A home is a great investment, but buying or selling a home without a lawyer could result in serious problems for the buyer or seller.

The Benefits of Consulting a Lawyer

All real estate transactions involve legal contracts, and you should not enter into such an agreement without legal counsel. Your lawyer should review the sales agreement before it is signed and not after—or it could be too late to make changes.

The buyer wants a clear title and needs a home inspection and other contingencies written into the sales agreement. A lawyer must review the title commitment to make sure the seller can convey good title. The lawyer will remind the buyer to have inspections for wells, septic fields, subdivision bylaws, etc.

The seller wants to make sure that the sales agreement does not allow the buyer to string out the closing date and then get out of the contract without penalty, especially if the plan is to buy a replacement home using the proceeds from the sale. The seller also does not want to be stuck with making unreasonable and costly repairs or improvements. 

A Lawyer Has No Conflict of Interest

A realtor cannot give legal advice and always has a conflict of interest, as he or she does not get paid unless the sales agreement is signed and the sale is completed. However, a lawyer can provide legal advice and has no conflict of interest, for he or she gets paid whether or not the sale goes through. Therefore, the attorney has no incentive to avoid telling the buyer or seller that the sales agreement is bad for them and needs to be renegotiated—or not signed at all.

If you are buying or selling residential or commercial property, there are technicalities that must be dealt with, such as leases and zoning. There are also other areas of real estate where a lawyer can be helpful, including landlord-tenant matters, evictions, partitions, property disputes, and probate related real estate issues.

It is wise to at least speak with an attorney about your potential transaction. You can then decide whether it is worth hiring an attorney to help with the process, which may save you a lot of money and headaches in the long run.

If you are interested in speaking with an attorney about a real estate matter, please call us at (734) 761-7282.