*The following article was written for the Southland Voice: To know more visit
For most people a real estate transaction is one of the biggest purchases or sales they’ll ever make in their life. It seems simple enough at the outset, so it’s little surprise that many people try to handle it without an attorney, or with an attorney who doesn’t ordinarily practice real estate and I’ve been in the position of having to fix some of these matters prior to closing or, even worse, having to litigate them in court after closing. Almost every time I see one of these matters a good attorney could have prevented it. I’ve listed below three good reasons why a buyer or seller should have a good real estate attorney:
1. A good real estate attorney can make necessary changes to your real estate contract.
Most real estate contracts have a built in modification window where an attorney can look at the contract and modify it if there are certain provisions that place you in needless risk or are unduly burdensome to you. For purchasers, an attorney also has the opportunity to request the seller make repairs to the property prior to you closing on the house so that you know you’re getting the best house you can prior to moving in. For sellers an attorney can help you negotiate these inspection requests.
2.) A good attorney can help you avoid buying a problematic house or taking on liability for selling a faulty house.
While the real estate closing is normally an exciting time for a homebuyer, sometimes an inspection can show that the house isn’t in the shape you thought it was. An attorney can help you get much needed warranties or clarification on issues regarding the defects so that you can close on the house with some reassurances and peace of mind. In the event that you no longer want the house, an attorney can help find ways for you get out of the contract without forfeiting your earnest money. For the seller, an attorney can help them avoid liability after the closing. Most sellers have to fill out multiple disclosures required by law when they sell the house and, if something goes wrong with the house after closing, the buyer’s typical response is to sue the seller based off what the seller said in those disclosures. A good attorney can make sure that the seller knows what they’re disclosing and promising to buyer so they don’t leave themselves liable to problems later on.
3.) A good attorney can help navigate you through the multiple steps needed to close on a house.
If you’re a buyer an attorney can help you coordinate with your lender, home inspector, and the seller’s title company. If you’re a seller an attorney can help you with procuring a commitment for title insurance (necessary for almost any transaction), procure a property survey, and any extras spelled out in your real estate contract like termite inspections or well and septic tests.
In todays fast moving world there is often a hurry on important transactions like buying and selling a house and moving on to the next chapter of your life. A good real estate attorney knows your rights under the law and how to move on protected. My office has handled countless real estate transactions and I’m always happy to answer questions should people have them. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.