Do You Need a Real Estate Attorney When Buying or Selling a House?

When it comes to buying or selling a house, most people rely on the expertise of real estate agents, brokers, and title and escrow companies to guide them through the process. In some states, an attorney is required to be present at the time of closing, but this is usually to represent the buyer's lender. However, even when it's not required, hiring a real estate lawyer can be beneficial in ensuring that your home purchase goes smoothly. The requirements that govern the participation of real estate lawyers vary from state to state and even within states.

For example, in California, the rules vary by county. An experienced real estate lawyer can help you avoid contractual surprises and guide you through any issues that arise as the sale of a home progresses from the offer letter to closing. They can also help with gathering legal documents related to the sale of a home, as this falls within the scope of practicing law. Real estate lawyers know how to prepare and review documents and contracts related to buying and selling a home and are legally authorized to do so.

They can also represent the mortgage lender or title company in the event that an attorney oversees a closing in which the home is purchased with a mortgage loan. The amount you'll spend paying your real estate lawyer (or lawyers) will depend on the services they provided and who is responsible for that particular closing cost. Some people hire a lawyer early in the process to handle matters such as reviewing the brokerage contract with a real estate agent, while others wait until the purchase contract is drafted or until it is closed. Even in states where it's not required, hiring a real estate lawyer is often recommended for homebuyers.

An experienced real estate lawyer can guide you step by step through the process of closing your home. They can also help with drafting and negotiating the contract of sale, as well as preparing any necessary paperwork. As much as you trust your real estate agent for their experience, agents also like to have a reliable resource to consult, especially when a deal gets complicated.

Dawn Launiere
Dawn Launiere

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