Whether you’re buying or selling, hiring a real estate attorney will ensure your interests are protected.
A real estate attorney will review documents, oversee transactions, and help resolve disputes.
Even if you feel comfortable with your real estate agent, it’s important that you pay attention to the details in the contract, evaluate the property, and make sure you’re protected. Hiring a real estate attorney to help you with this will ensure your interests are protected.
Today, we’re exploring the benefits of hiring a real estate lawyer so you can make the best decision when buying a house.
Let’s get started …
Hiring A Real Estate Attorney
California real estate law provides protections for people buying and selling real estate, but it’s still a smart idea to get a second opinion to ensure your interests are protected.
Even if you’re working with a reputable real estate agent, you need someone with an unbiased perspective in your corner.
There are plenty of honest real estate agents working throughout Los Angeles, but it’s important to understand they receive a commission for every transaction they close. This financial motivation can sometimes negatively impact your interests.
There’s a simple solution …
You need to hire a real estate attorney.
Unlike real estate agents, attorneys don’t have a personal interest in the outcome of your transaction other than making sure you are protected.
Reviewing the Contract and Making Modifications
California real estate contracts normally contain an attorney review period clause allowing time for your attorney to review the contract, even after you have signed it.
These contracts contain legal language that a real estate broker may not understand. It is important for you to have an attorney review the contract language and explain to you anything relevant and important to your particular situation.
This gives you the opportunity to make modifications if necessary.
For example, the property to be purchased may be or contain illegal structures.
It may contain hazardous material like asbestos or lead. It may have hidden dangers like termites or dry rot. Any needed inspections and purchase contingencies should be spelled out for your protection. If you do run into an issue, you should know your obligations as well as rights to back out of the contract.
Interfacing With Attorneys, Brokers, and Mortgage Loan Officer
Your attorney works with the other party’s attorney, the real estate brokers, and the mortgage loan officer on a variety of documents and schedules to make sure you are in compliance with any regulations and will meet any required time limits.
The documents may include property deed, mortgage loan documents, closing documents, legal descriptions, title and title insurance policy. Any errors or missing information can result in huge processing delays.
Schedules need to be set for review and approval of such items as home inspections, title search, mortgage commitment, attorney review, and other contingencies.
Once a real estate transaction is closed, it is difficult to make changes.
So, doing it right the first time is very important. Complex documents can be a real challenge. Your attorney will review the financial statement to make sure you are being charged the amount you agreed to, or appropriate credits have been arranged.
Most California real estate is sold using a standard form, with preprinted sales contracts written by, or approved by, the local Realtor Association. Most of them also provide for the attorney review period that allows you, on the advice of your attorney, to get out of the contract even after you signed it.
Your Real Estate Lawyer Is On Your Team
As mentioned above, real estate agents and brokers are not lawyers.
It is true that they have a fiduciary responsibility to serve your best interests to their abilities. But that doesn’t mean they will think of every possible situation or are immune to mistakes.
Situations arise all the time like negligence, breach of contract, non-disclosure, fraud, and misrepresentation, any of which can be very costly to your business and/or reputation and affect future business transactions as well.
Hiring a real estate attorney will ensure you are protected.
If you are buying or leasing a business property, you need to understand commercial requirements for those actions and the consequences for breach of contract in that environment.
If you are building a new house, you are dealing with construction issues like defects or mechanic liens or contractor delays or safety issues. There are zoning laws and permits, environmental agencies, cities, counties, wetlands, abutting property owners, and more.
There are also local variances and exceptions, special use permits, common interest communities, and local covenants and restrictions. Is your real estate agent familiar with all these?
A non-standard, builder contract can be a problem itself. What exactly is specified and how is it specified? How are items priced? What are any assumptions? What if you have a dispute with your contractor? Will the builder allow you to preview terms and conditions before signing? If not, make sure there is an attorney review clause and period for your attorney so you can back out if there is any issue raised by that attorney.
A good real estate attorney will be aware of all these issues and potential problems and will make the necessary preemptive actions to clear all hurdles for your purchase.
Finding the Right Attorney
Where do you start?
When hiring a real estate attorney, ask how long he or she has been practicing. Find out how much real-world experience he has in real estate. If you are dealing with something complex like real-estate development, you should look for someone with eight to 15 years’ experience.
Ask how many cases like yours he has handled. If he has had similar cases, he will know what to look out for and can advise you accordingly. He won’t have to put in more time learning the intricacies of your type of real estate.
Ask the attorney how he would handle your case. If he provides a general response like he will handle everything, be suspicious. A seasoned attorney can outline what he would do for you including the filing of certain documents and the closing.
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