One of the biggest investments a person can make is purchasing a home. Whether it is their first home or their fifth, it is critical that they consult with a real estate attorney to advise them through process. While it is an exciting step to take, it is a long process that involves contracts, loans, and other paperwork that should always be approved by an attorney first. However, many people forego the protections of a real estate attorney despite the fact he or she is the only unbiased party in the transaction. Other parties involved in the transaction collect their fee only if the transactions closes, creating a situation that may not be completely beneficial to the buyer. Purchasing a home can be an arduous process, so utilizing the expertise of an attorney is beneficial to the homebuyer because it will make the process as seamless as possible and will avoid unnecessary complications and delays.
- find an attorney that specializes in real estate
- interview different attorneys
- get a quote on how fees will be charged
- find out if your attorney writes title insurance
- use an attorney that handles “a little bit of everything”
- just rely on a friend’s recommendation
- wait until there is a problem to hire an attorney
- try to handle it on your own
In this day and age, the legal field has become so generalized that one should obtain representation from an attorney who handles real estate transactions on a daily basis. Many times issues arise during the transaction that are better handled by someone who is familiar with a multitude of real estate issues and has potentially encountered those issues in the past. While any attorney can read a contract and advise accordingly, seeking the services of a real estate attorney is prudent to get the best outcome and guidance.
As with any other trade, attorneys have different backgrounds, experience, and qualifications. Talking to a few different attorneys will not only provide you with knowledge of their qualifications, but will also give you insight as to whether you will have a good rapport with them throughout the transaction.
All attorneys have different ways of charging. Some may quote you a flat fee while others may bill you by the hour rate. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. Figure out which method works best for you.
Many times, if your attorney can issue the title insurance policy on the transaction, which is recommended for property buyers and required by lenders, the attorney can lower his attorney’s fees because he earns fees by issuing the policy, which can decrease your cost substantially.
Attorneys are required to take continuing legal education courses every year and keep up with the latest cases in their field. Chances are that an attorney who does not specialize in real estate, will not be familiar with the latest case law and issues that are current in the marketplace, which will skew their advice. Use someone who specializes in this area.
Too many times, people come to a real estate attorney after they’ve gotten themselves into a legal problem and when asked why they chose a particular attorney, they say that a friend recommended him or her. This is not an effective way or reason to hire a real estate attorney. As mentioned above, it is good for you to interview attorneys, or at the very least, ask for their qualifications. What worked for someone you know may not work for you.
The best thing an attorney can do is to prevent a problem from happening. If you choose to wait until there is a problem to hire an attorney, it is too late. First of all, it may be too late to find a solution. And second, even if there is a solution, the expense will be greater than having the attorney in the first place to prevent the problem. Have an attorney who knows your situation and is familiar with the decisions you are making so they can be available to assist you through the process, instead of just being there at the end.
Many people will forgo using an attorney to assist them with their real estate transactions because they don’t want to incur an additional fee and they think that if they know enough about real estate they can manage on their own. And they might be right but the risk is not worth it. These are the same people that hire an attorney after a problem arises. You hire an attorney for the same reason you have insurance- you have it in place before to back you up in the event things go wrong.
Hiring a real estate attorney is as important as the real estate transaction itself. Real estate attorneys can prevent you from putting yourself in a position that can cost you time, additional money, and lawsuits. Real estate attorneys are trained to foresee many of the possible pitfalls and address those concerns so that they are resolved before they become a problem, helping their client to the best of their ability, making the process easier to navigate for all parties involved.