Whether you plan to purchase a home for the first time, buy a second home, sell a home, get a vacation property, or purchase an investment property—hiring a real estate attorney is the best way to protect your investment and your interests. Real estate transactions include huge investments for all parties involved. There are significant benefits to working with a real estate attorney from early on in the process, whether you are a buyer or seller. Here are some ways an experienced real estate attorney like Veitengruber Law can help you better achieve your real estate goals.
Attorneys are often considered professional negotiators and for good reason. While the average person does not spend much time in their daily lives negotiating terms, an attorney spends much of their career doing just that. This means that a real estate attorney will be far better positioned to negotiate a contract that is equitable or even in your favor. This can be useful, especially in today's real estate climate, where genuine property bargains are few and far between. Working towards terms that benefit you can mean the difference of hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars over the course of your homeownership.
2. Drafting, Reviewing, and Finalizing Contracts
In any real estate transaction, there is a ton of paperwork. Purchasing or selling a home will require standard documents like sales contracts, appraisals, HOA documents, disclosures, home inspection reports, and other documents specific to your situation. While real estate agents, lenders, and other real estate professionals have a lot of experience with these transactions and the documents accompanying them, those professionals are not experts in real estate law or contract law. Without a real estate attorney, most transactions proceed with a generalized, pre-written contract with places to fill in the blanks with information pertinent to that sale.
When you work with a real estate attorney, they can develop a deal-specific contract that ensures every aspect of the sale is included. This is the best way to ensure that all the tiny details of an agreement are legally binding. Instead of a contract filled with boilerplate clauses that may or may not pertain to the real estate transaction at hand, you can come to the negotiation table with a detailed, specific contract that benefits everyone. And if your transaction goes beyond the typical real estate transaction—like if it includes a trust or a sizeable legal entity—an experienced real estate attorney will be able to draft the kind of complex contract you need to ensure the transaction goes smoothly.
3. Title and Liens Research
A lien and title search must occur before closing in every real estate transaction. Searching for titles and liens protects all parties and ensures no one has a financial claim on the property. This is good for the seller, as they will receive confirmation that they can legally sell the property. It is also good for the buyer, who will want to know that the property is free and clear of any financial entanglements. A real estate attorney can perform the lien and title search for you. If they discover that there is an outstanding lien on the property, they will be able to help you resolve the problem and keep the deal moving forward. Title issues can also be resolved or negotiated with the help of a real estate attorney. And if an issue cannot be resolved or indicates a bad deal, a real estate attorney can also advise when it is time to walk away from a real estate deal. These services can save you crucial time, money, and stress.
4. Proper Filings
Whenever a property changes owners, a new deed must be filed with the county in which the property resides. Often, a bank or mortgage lender will handle the process of filing the new deed. But a deed is an important, legally binding document. Even a tiny mistake can cause significant issues in the future. A real estate attorney is versed in the legal requirements of a deed and can ensure that the document submitted checks all the boxes. An attorney can often complete the filing process faster than your mortgage lender or bank.
5. Reviewing Home Inspection Documents or Disclosures
Most real estate transactions occur between two honest parties where the buyer and the seller negotiate in good faith. It is rare that one party is trying to enter into a contract through deceit, but it does happen. Because of this, it is essential to do your due diligence when reviewing documents pertaining to the property. All property sales come with some mandatory disclosures and inspections. This does not mean, however, that a desperate seller couldn't use creative language and loopholes to avoid telling the truth about a property. An experienced real estate attorney can spot the red flags of a shady disclosure statement or insufficient home inspection. If an attorney can sense that there are issues hidden within the creative jargon, they will be able to help you articulate the concerns.
People often think of closing as the meeting at which you sign all the paperwork and make the sale official. But closing is actually a multi-step process that can extend to before and after the in-person closing meeting. Closing includes filing the deed, resolving any last-minute disputes, and reviewing and signing a closing document. The closing document is an accounting of all the relevant financial transactions that pertain to the sale of the property, including earnest deposit, escrow, and final payment amount.
Other real estate professionals can handle many of the above aspects of a real estate transaction, but not with the legal expertise of an experienced real estate attorney. Working with a real estate attorney like Veitengruber Law can give you the peace of mind that your big investment is fully legally protected.