The case for hiring a real estate attorney
“Why would I pay for something when I can do it myself, for free?” That’s the question most people ask when someone suggests hiring a real estate attorney. Here are five compelling reasons to rethink this research.
1. Contracts are complex
There is absolutely nothing to stop buyers and sellers from negotiating the terms of a deal on their own. But for it to be legally binding, they must remember their agreement in writing. In addition to transcribing the actual content of the contract, an experienced attorney will also ensure that you adhere to all state laws. While it is true that real estate agents can help with standard contracts, they may not have the legal knowledge or experience to detect serious errors before a deal is finalized. As such, it is often a good idea for an attorney to review the contract before either party signs it.
2. It may be a link problem
Anyone can put up a “for sale” sign, but not all homeowners have the right to sell. Because it is often the largest asset in a family, the home is an obvious target when creditors are owed money they cannot collect. Whether the creditor is a bank or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), property and judgment ties can get in the way of a sale. As they are a matter of public domain, anyone can search for them. But since they work closely with title search firms, attorneys can provide this vital service much faster and at a much lower cost.
3. Paperwork must be filed
Even the simplest land deal requires both parties to submit documentation at the state and / or county level. An experienced real estate attorney will ensure that all legal documents are filed quickly and efficiently. Most importantly, you will ensure that the real estate deed is registered with the appropriate state agency and that it is properly registered. Failure to complete this crucial step could prevent a new owner from selling the property, obtaining a home equity line of credit, or refinancing the mortgage.
4. Government bureaucracy
When the transaction involves commercial property, there are several additional steps that a new owner must take. An experienced real estate attorney can help establish a valid business entity, obtain a tax identification number, and obtain a real business license through the local municipality. All of these important actions can help the new owner focus on the grand opening, rather than wasting time on government red tape.
5. Emotion clouds judgment
Unlike the real estate agent who is motivated by a commission to strike a deal, a reputable attorney has no such conflict of interest. He or she simply provides advice based on the law, not individual wants and needs. That kind of dispassionate and no-nonsense presence is often urgently needed during negotiations.
An experienced real estate attorney can help buyers and sellers save time and money on real estate transactions.