Real estate attorneys are not just for legal battles over real estate property. There are plenty of times when you might need a real estate lawyer that never involves the courtroom. Here are six situations that could require the assistance of a real estate legal representative to assist you with a real estate transaction.
You’re a First-Time Buyer or Seller
Purchasing real estate involves a legal transactional agreement, which means that you need to understand your rights and responsibilities as a buyer or a seller. It’s always a good idea to have an attorney who specializes in real estate check out your contract before you sign it just to make sure there are no hidden surprises in the language. You might not want to read the fine print, but that’s where legal issues usually stem from. Your lawyer will read it for you and ensure you’re protected as either the buyer or seller.
There are Title Issues
The title of a house is a record of ownership, and as such, problems with this record can crop up during the transfer of ownership at a sale. If there are more names on the title than the entity that’s selling the property, you could run into issues when buying that house. A real estate attorney will perform a title search to make sure all owners are involved in the sale and that you have a clean transaction. The title is one of the most important parts of owning a house, so you want to make sure there are no legal problems down the road.
You’re Buying or Selling a Commercial Property
Commercial real estate transactions are entirely different from residential transactions, and generally, there are fewer protections for either party in a commercial situation. There may be leases involved in the purchase and other complications that require a real estate attorney to negotiate terms and conditions. To protect your rights and understand your responsibilities as a buyer or seller of commercial property, it’s almost essential to have an attorney involved. These sales are often complex and the agreement can undertake numerous revisions before everyone agrees. You don’t want to be without representation during these discussions.
You’re From Another State
Buying a property in another state is not always an easy process. There may be different laws in the state you live in compared to the state where you’re buying, and a real estate attorney can help you navigate those differences. In fact, if you’re not going to be able to attend all required meetings during the sales process, you’ll want to have an attorney who can represent you at those sessions. Your lawyer will know what is important to you with regard to the final agreement and will negotiate with your interests in mind. Note that some states require a real estate lawyer to be present for all real estate transactions anyway, so if you’re buying a property in one of those states, securing representation is mandatory.
You’re Selling as Part of Divorce Proceedings
If your divorce agreement requires you to sell the marital house and divide the assets among your former spouse, it’s highly recommended that you have a real estate attorney present during that transaction. This is particularly important if there is equity in the home and both of your names are on the mortgage. Chances are that your former spouse will have an attorney representing their interests, so you want to be on even ground to ensure you get everything to which you’re entitled.
You’re Unsure of Which Offer is the Best
As a seller of a house, you may receive several offers to buy your home, but unless one is an all-cash offer, you may have trouble determining which offer is actually the best for you. Offers can come with all sorts of caveats like a contingency that the buyer’s current home sells first or the seller wants some cash concessions for repairs. A real estate attorney will help you compare the offers you receive to make sure you accept the one that has the best outcome for you.
A real estate attorney is not always necessary when you buy or sell a house or property, but to make sure you don’t miss something important that could negatively impact you later, it’s always better to have one present than not. Your rights will be protected and you’ll understand your responsibilities as either a buyer or a seller so that you do everything above board and by the book.