You can’t get over the smell of fresh paint and clean carpet as you walk through your potential first home. The open floor plan makes your heart leap. And the lush green lawn out back is like icing on the cake.
You’re now ready to make an offer on the home. And in the back of your mind, you keep wondering whether to hire a lawyer to help you through the process.
Buying a home is quite the process, but do you really need a lawyer? What does a real estate attorney do for a buyer anyway?
Here’s why you need to hire a lawyer before you buy that dream home.
Let’s jump in!
What Is a Real Estate Lawyer, and What Does a Real Estate Attorney Do for a Buyer?
A real estate attorney — for example, Niv Davidovich in California — is somebody who knows the regulations and rules related to transactions involving real estate.
If you’re asking, “What do real estate attorneys do,” note that one of the most important jobs of a real estate lawyer is to prepare and review documents relating to real estate. They’ll also help you to understand these legal documents. These documents include the following:
- Purchase agreements/contracts
- Mortgage documents
- Title documents
- Transfer documents
When you’re purchasing a property, your attorney may also write a policy for title insurance and complete a title search on your chosen property.
Your attorney may additionally be responsible for the transferring of money for your purchase. For instance, let’s say that you are financing your house purchase. The attorney will handle the HUD-1 Form as well as fund transfer documentation for your lender.
Why Else Do I Need a Real Estate Attorney When Buying a Property?
If you hire a real estate attorney, they will negotiate with the home seller on your behalf. The attorney will also verify whether a lien has been placed against the property that you’re trying to buy.
Likewise, a lawyer can tell you whether certain properties have restrictive covenants. These covenants restrict how certain properties are used so as to preserve the value of adjoining property.
Furthermore, the attorney you hire will attend your property closing — an important step in the buying process. This is when the funds are paid. The property title is also transferred during this step.
The goal of the attorney during the closing is to make sure that the transfer taking place is both binding and legal. In other words, they’re there to protect your best interests.
Problem Situations That Real Estate Attorneys Can Help With
Some real estate transactions can get a little messy. Fortunately, an attorney can also address issues such as mortgage fraud and zoning issues.
In addition, attorneys can handle contract issues, problems with lot lines, and challenges with chain of title.
A real estate lawyer can also represent you in the event that a real estate dispute goes to court.
In this situation, the attorney will gather facts and try to bring you and the other party to the resolution you desire. This might involve hiring a title company or surveyor to navigate the details of the dispute.
You Legally Need a Real Estate Lawyer in Certain States
Note that the District of Columbia and several states require real estate attorneys to be present when property transactions are taking place. These states include the following:
- West Virginia
- South Carolina
- Rhode Island
- North Dakota
- New York
- New Jersey
- New Hampshire
However, even if you don’t live in these states, it would still behoove you to hire a real estate attorney.
The reality is, real estate brokers/agents must have a comprehensive understanding of standard buyer and seller documents. However, real estate attorneys offer much more than real estate agents can during a transaction.
If you don’t have an attorney on your side, you may become susceptible to a wide variety of lawsuits and pitfalls. An attorney can help you to avoid getting into sticky legal situations while you’re trying to buy your dream property.
Final Considerations Regarding Hiring a Real Estate Attorney
All in all, when a real estate lawyer is involved in your transaction, this may give you an immense peace of mind.
For instance, your attorney can make sure that existing home additions do not conflict with your local permit guidelines or building codes.
In addition, your attorney can review your contracts, such as your purchase agreement, carefully before you sign on the dotted line. This will help to ensure that you get what you want out of the deal.
All in all, a real estate lawyer will make sure that your transaction is executed in a legal way and that you’ll be happy with the results of it long term.
How We Can Help
In addition answering the question “What does a real estate attorney do for a buyer,” we offer other valuable lifestyle tips and advice.
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