Craig Della Penna, Realtor®'s Blog
Buying a piece of real estate is a serious legal and financial decision. Sometimes, having a real estate attorney help you through the process is helpful. In fact, in some states, it is required by law to have one assist with the process. If you don’t live in a state where it is required, do you need one? These questions will help you determine if you need an attorney as part of your real estate team.
Do You Have a Specific Legal Concern?
If you start down the path toward purchasing a house and run into a legal concern, then it is a good indication that you might need the help of an attorney. For example, perhaps you discover a tax lien against the home you wish to purchase or tenants that currently live in the property and wish to rent it from you temporarily after you purchase it. Your real estate agent can help you determine if your concern is a legal one and requires an attorney, but an agent is not able to make legal judgments. If you need help to make a legal decision, that is help only an attorney provides.
Do You Understand the Paperwork?
In a real estate transaction, there is quite a large amount of paperwork. From your initial offer submission to the closing paperwork, you will be signing legal documents many times. Those documents are legally binding so it is important to fully understand them. An attorney can help interpret those documents for you and explain exactly what you are signing.
Are You Purchasing a Short Sale or Foreclosure?
Short sale or foreclosure properties have significant legal issues that are not usually found in regular real estate transactions. If you’re considering one of these properties, then you may want to consult with an attorney to ensure the legal aspects of the transaction are in order before closing day.
Are You Shopping FSBO Properties?
If you are shopping for-sale-by-owner properties, your seller won’t have an agent helping them. Consider consulting with an attorney during the transaction will help keep the process running smoothly. Similarly, if you're considering selling your home without an agent, an attorney is an important professional to have on hand.
Are You Shopping Commercial?
Commercial properties have legal aspects not found in residential properties. If you’re shopping in the commercial market, make sure you talk to an attorney before signing any sales contracts.
In most home purchases, except those states where one is required by law, a real estate attorney is not necessary. If your purchase has extenuating circumstances or you find yourself with many questions, consider consulting one.