23 Apr When to Hire a Real Estate Attorney
More than six million homes — that’s how many get sold in the US every year. This is likely to go up, seeing as 84% of Americans say that buying a house is now a big priority for them. This reflects a nine percent increase in potential home buyers
If you’re one of these individuals, you’re likely wondering if you need a real estate attorney. Is hiring one even a legal requirement? What can they even do for you in the first place?
Ready to learn all about why and when to hire a property attorney? Then let’s get right into it!
If a Real Estate Attorney is a Legal Requirement Where You Live
Many states require an attorney’s presence in real estate transactions. In most cases, these lawyers should at least be present during the closing procedures. After all, this is when the transfer of the property’s ownership to the new owner takes place.
In other states, such as Nevada, some parts of a real estate transaction require a power of attorney. In many others, including California, hiring a real estate attorney is up to the buyer or seller.
If You Plan to Buy a Bank-Owned or Real Estate-Owned (REO) Property
Even if it’s not the law, hiring a real estate attorney is vital if you’re buying a bank-owned property. These are properties that have reverted to the lenders due to foreclosures. They are common, with 296,458 US properties having had foreclosure filings in the first half of 2019.
Lenders often offer REO properties at discounted prices, which is a plus for buyers. They do this as their main goal is to recoup their money.
However, most lenders sell REO properties in “as-is” condition. They also often reject any liability for the property’s condition when sold.
In this case, you may be at risk of buying a home with structural defects. Since the lender isn’t liable for these damages, then you’ll end up shouldering the repair bill. As the impacts of COVID-19 hit the market, it is likely that more and more of these types of properties will be available and you will want to utilize legal assistance to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.
That’s why it’s best that you get a real estate attorney to read the lender’s contract. Your attorney will make sure that you know the exact condition of the house that you’re planning to buy. They’ll translate the real estate law jargon into terms that you can understand.
This way, you’ll know exactly what you’re about to buy and get into. This can then help you avoid buying a low-cost house that will end up being more expensive in the long run.
If You’re Buying A Property in Another State
Real estate laws vary from one state to another, so the laws in your state may not apply to all other states. That’s why it’s best that you work with real estate attorneys who operate in the state you want to buy a property in. Local real estate attorneys are your smartest choice, as they know the ins and outs of the laws of their own state.
For instance, California has a unique law requiring all garage doors to have a battery backup. Yes, it’s a legal requirement under the California SB 969. It’s a relatively new law, applying to all homes sold from July 1st, 2019 onward3:40.
Meaning, if you’re buying a home in the Golden State, then this should be part of the contract.
This is only one example of how state laws on real estate can vary and be unique from each other. Unfortunately, these can be easy to overlook for out-of-town buyers. You can prevent such mistakes by hiring an experienced local real estate attorney.
If You’re Investing in a Commercial Property
Commercial properties come with even more risks and liabilities than residential properties. This is not only because they’re bigger, but also because they will have more occupants. There are also laws specific to how you can use them, such as if you’ll be allowed to rent them out to businesses or individuals.
You also need to consider how viable the location of the property is. Are there any zoning and building restrictions in that area? What about the safety and security of the location and nearby areas?
All these are vital considerations that can be easy to miss without a legal professional. So, to ensure that you make the most out of your investment, hire a real estate attorney.
You Want to Simplify the Entire Real Estate Buying Process
The simplest answer to your question, “Why hire a real estate attorney?” is to ensure a smooth transaction. These legal professionals will simplify the buying and selling process from the very beginning.
For instance, a real estate attorney can carry out title searches on the property you wish to buy. They’ll make sure there are no liens attached to the property. They’ll also confirm that the seller is really the sole owner of the property.
Your attorney will also prepare and organize all the documents on your behalf. You can even have the attorney write a title insurance policy. Your attorney will also review all paperwork, such as the purchase and loan contracts.
Your attorney will be present during the closing too. This is when you’ll pay or transfer the funds for the purchase to the seller. This is also when the seller transfers the title to your name.
If any dispute occurs, such as issues with any contract, your real estate attorney will resolve them for you. Your legal team will also be there to smoothen out lot line problems or chain of title issues. Moreover, they’ll ensure that there are no zoning liabilities or conflicts.
Beyond the mere transaction, a real estate attorney can actually help streamline the process of selling or buying a home. If you find yourself involved in shifting market circumstances due to current events, allow a licensed real estate attorney to guide you through the process.
Follow These Guidelines on When to Hire a Real Estate Attorney
There you have it, your complete guide on when to hire a real estate attorney. Even if your state doesn’t require their presence, it’s still best to have one on board. A real estate attorney will be there to protect your best interests, and that should be a good enough reason.
Planning to make the transition from being a renter to a homeowner soon? If so, then know that we can help! Please feel free to get in touch with us for any questions about real estate transactions.