“While your real estate agent might be an excellent negotiator, his service scope and knowledge level are still quite limited. This means that for all the legal procedures and professionally sound advice needed to address legal technicalities in a real estate transaction, you will need to hire a lawyer for real estate.”
When it comes to buying or selling real estate, the first professional that is considered consulting with is usually a real estate agent. This is because almost half of the American states do not explicitly require a lawyer for real estate to be present at closing. However, it should not surprise you that the scope of service and professional competence of a real estate agent tends to be quite limited when compared with that which a lawyer for real estate could possibly offer.
Therefore, in an ideal situation and whether required by your state or not, having a lawyer for real estate by your side throughout a real estate transaction is the right thing to do.
However, in case you are wondering why you should hire a lawyer for real estate when you already have a real estate broker involved, here is a simple reason. But before we explain to you the reason behind hiring a real estate lawyer, it is better to understand the severity of a real estate transaction.
Real estate transaction – Understanding its significance and why is it relatively a big deal
Any real estate deal to either buy or sell a property, from various perspectives is overall a considerably significant transaction. To understand this and why real estate transactions happen to be important, consider the following instances –
- For most people in the United States of America, a real estate transaction would mean a once-in-a-lifetime kind of pursuit.
- Similarly, even the most modestly valued real estate transaction may not necessarily be insignificant for each person. This is because for most people it could be the biggest monetary investment that they will ever make in their entire life.
- Apart from the above two factors, real estate transactions by their inherent nature involve certain complexities and technicalities. A real estate lawyer can help eliminate completely or at least minimize the adverse affects of a complicated property situation.
Given the above circumstances, opinion of many experts suggests seeking the professional expertise of a real estate lawyer.
By using several factors in this article, we will discuss in detail the purpose, importance, and benefits of hiring a lawyer for real estate.
So, let’s begin.
What is a real estate lawyer?
A real estate lawyer, as the name suggests, is a professionally licensed person to help with legal matters in real estate. Such persons can provide a qualified opinion based on their expert knowledge and competence in laws governing real estate.
Since law itself is an extensive endeavor, lawyers for real estate are professionals who specialize and guide on legal matters concerning real estate.
Why hire a lawyer for real estate?
Unlike other buy-sell transactions, each real estate deal requires proper documentation at various levels. For example, title search, property inspection records to detect any defects, appraisal reports, mortgages, and liens, etc.
Because of such lengthy procedures involved, there is a high chance that some information –
- might have been omitted during any previous transfer of the said property, or
- may get omitted during the current transaction.
Hiring a lawyer for real estate can make sure that no such omission takes place, and any prior omissions are corrected at the right time. This helps in a smooth and prompt closure of the real estate transaction by preventing the occurrence of any complex situations. Technicalities and complex issues can cause unnecessary prolonging or even temporary halt in a real estate transaction.
Lawyer for real estate vs real estate agents – Should you hire both or if anyone then who?
The role of a real estate agent and a real estate lawyer is for the most part completely different. Nonetheless, not many people are aware of the differences between them. Thus, they remain confused as to which professional should they hire and why during a real estate transaction.
Perhaps the main reason behind this confusion is the considerable amount of professional fees involved. Real estate agents usually charge a commission fee ranging between 4 to 6 percent of the property value. While on the other hand, lawyers for real estate may charge a fixed fee or an hourly rate. This, however, is based on the amount and nature of work involved.
Although fee matters are highly negotiable, they do eventually in each case increase the total cost of the investment. As a consequence, the price of the real estate transaction also increases.
But whether you need a real estate agent or broker only, and/or a real estate agent as well, depends on your case.
For instance, straightforward and simple real estate transactions will not require hiring a real estate lawyer. Similarly, lack of funds to pay the fees of the lawyer could also prevent a person from hiring a lawyer.
In simple words, it is your responsibility to carefully understand the gravity of the real estate transaction in question. Then only will you be able to take a better decision on hiring the most appropriate person for your needs.
In this article, we tend to discuss the various aspects of a lawyer for real estate. Besides this, we will also briefly mention the different tasks performed by a real estate agent during any property transaction.
What is a real estate agent and why would you need to hire one?
When you consider buying or selling a property, a real estate agent is probably the first person that you would talk to. The simplest reason behind this is that a real estate agent is someone who has vast exposure in buying and selling real estate.
If you are a buyer, a real estate agent will meet and conduct a brief interview to gather some information. This includes knowing about your budget, preferred locality, and other needs. He will then use these details to find the most suitable listings that fit your description.
Similarly, if you are a seller of any real estate property, then also you might need to hire a real estate agent. In this case, a real estate agent can help you with numerous matters related to your property.
For example, he can –
- help evaluate the right market value of your property,
- conduct a thorough inspection to help find issues that need to be fixed before listing your house for sale especially if they can affect its value, and
- last but not the least, he is the person that will help you find the best seller offer for your property.
Duties, responsibilities, and benefits of a real estate agent or broker
Let us now briefly take an overview of the duties and responsibilities of a real estate agent or broker –
- Not necessarily but a good real estate agent should at least have the basic knowledge of real estate laws. Technically, a real estate agent is not required nor can furnish legal opinion in any capacity on real estate matters. But still, he should still have some knowledge of relevant laws and regulations. A knowledgeable lawyer can easily gain confidence of his client.
- A good real estate agent or broker will have knowledge and experience in dealing with various kinds of property in an area.
- He should be able to easily and appropriately perform the current market analysis and value assessment of a real estate property.
- The right kind of real estate agent will be able to advise on the correct time to buy or sell a real estate property.
- He can also help find any known and unknown defects and suggest repairs or upgrades that may help obtain a better price offer for a property.
- Also, he can help fill out the closing contract templates for the real estate transaction which in usual cases are the same. But if a buyer and/or seller intends to include any special and explicit details and/or terms in the real estate agreement, he cannot help.
Despite all the above-mentioned services performed by a real estate agent, its role is still restricted. A real estate agent cannot help beyond general matters related to real estate property transactions.
For expert advice and opinion on legal matters, only a real estate lawyer can help you.
Understanding the benefits of having a lawyer for real estate in a real estate property transaction
Before beginning this section, you need to know the primary and unavoidable reason behind appointing a real estate lawyer.
This primary reason revolves around what the state that you live in requires you to do. This means that whether you should arrange a lawyer or not for real estate purposes is primarily a state matter.
Almost half of the states in America make it obligatory to have a real estate lawyer. In such states, the real estate lawyer is mostly required at the closing of the real estate transaction.
Which states require hiring a real estate lawyer near me at closing?
Below is a list of states that require hiring a lawyer for real estate to be present to perform the closing duties of a real estate transaction.
- District of Columbia
- North Dakota
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
- New Hampshire
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
If for any reason you’re unable to hire both an agent and a lawyer, then choose the most reliable option. This definitely means that you hire a real estate lawyer only.
And this is not merely because we tend to be among the best real estate lawyers with free consultation. Rather, it is because of a key difference between the two. As you will understand later, this difference not just draws a clear line between them but has more to do. It allows real estate lawyers to eliminate the need to hire an agent for any real estate property needs.
What gives more importance to having a lawyer for real estate than having a real estate agent is the fact that a real estate lawyer can perform all the duties, acts, and responsibilities as well as offer the benefits of a real estate agent.
Contrary to this, no real estate agent irrespective of his/her experience and knowledge of legal matters, can legally assist in even the smallest of a real estate technicality.
How does a lawyer for real estate help you? – Benefits of having a real estate lawyer
This section presents a detailed account on how a real estate lawyer can help with various matters concerning a real estate transaction. Remember that the duties, responsibilities, and benefits of a real estate agent as mentioned above are all offered by real estate lawyers as well.
Therefore, in this section, we discuss some other exclusive benefits, duties, and responsibilities conducted by a real estate lawyer.
1. Preparing, reviewing, and correcting the paperwork
A real estate attorney can help prepare all the necessary documents needed at the closure of a real estate transaction. By being highly concerned to safeguard your stake in a real estate transaction, your real estate lawyer will prepare all the necessary documents correctly.
This affirms that you do not face any risks of an unforeseen nature occurring at an uncertain time. Remember that unlikely events can disrupt any procedure or the entire real estate transaction.
Even if you plan on using any pre-drafted document template containing standard terms and conditions, or plan to use the documents prepared by the opposite party in a real estate transaction, having a real estate lawyer still serves your purpose.
In this situation, your real estate lawyer can review the documents along with providing explanation of important terms. For instance, certain clauses in the real estate agreement and their resulting consequences in case of a breach.
Another key benefit that a lawyer for real estate offers is to correct any misstatements or remove mistakes that may exist in any of the documents of a real estate property. Such mistake or misstatement could also result in an otherwise avoidable delay in the closing of a real estate deal.
Because each real estate transaction involves several different documents, it is not easy for an ordinary person to review, understand, and figure out any complex details that require correction.
Hiring a real estate lawyer, therefore, helps ensure that every disputable issue has been carefully –
- corrected, and/or
in the right manner beforehand. This eventually helps in peacefully and smoothly closing the real estate transaction.
2. Resolving your queries before you sign any document
Once you sign the real estate agreement, you enter a binding contractual obligation with all the other parties to the real estate transaction. Therefore, before making any commitment, make sure to carefully read and understand the terms of the agreement.
Apart from this, it is also possible that you may have any doubts or ambiguities in mind. To clear these out, you will probably need further understanding and professional opinion of an expert.
In such matters, your lawyer for real estate can not only answer and help clear your doubts but also do more. For example, he can frame the terms in a way that is easy to comprehend by each party.
3. Helping with matters beyond the real estate
The primary reason for referring to a lawyer for real estate is to discuss real estate matters. After all, being an expert in their field means that they are the most appropriate person to seek advice from.
However, this does not mean that they cannot help with real estate matters that are associated with other laws. Even though they might not be an expert in other laws, real estate lawyers can still guide you on several matters involving laws beside real estate.
Being a lawyer means that he has complete knowledge and access to resources that will help you with other legal situations as well.
For example, any matter related to mortgages, insurance, or banking and finance laws. It is not uncommon for a real estate agreement to include contingency clauses that may be governed by laws outside real estate.
4. Evaluating the best options in your case
Real estate property transactions aren’t just about simply buying and selling the real estate assets but extend further also.
For example, a real estate transaction that is either partially or wholly being financed through a loan will require evaluation of the different available financing options.
The best lawyer for real estate near me can greatly help in this process. He can help a real estate buyer avail an option that displays minimum impact on his financial position.
5. Lawyer for real estate can help close the deal
Even if neither the seller nor the buyer in a real estate property transaction hired a real estate lawyer till the very closing of the real estate deal, it may be a good thing to hire one now before completing the entire thing.
Real estate lawyers can review the entire paperwork involved at this stage and guide each party on whether to close the deal or not.
For instance, consider this example. Real estate lawyers can help identify and correct any important matters which neither party so far has been aware of. This timely correction eventually saves each party from facing any huge trouble.
Remember that any unresolved issues that stay unaddressed even after the closure of a real estate transaction could result in further problems. For example, the ownership title of the buyer or the seller’s right to sell being contested by any person or organisation.
How much does a lawyer for real estate cost?
One of the key things to figure out before hiring the best lawyer for real estate near me is to know how much they will cost you.
Honestly, it is quite difficult to assess or even provide close estimate with regards to a real estate lawyer’s fee. However, what is possible in this case is to know the fee charging pattern of real estate lawyers.
Depending on your lawyer and the kind of legal help that you require, a real estate lawyer can either charge –
- a flat fee for the entire real estate transaction; or
- he can charge an hourly rate for his services.
Finding the best lawyer for real estate property near me with free consultation
Remember that whether you hire a real estate lawyer or not, you will most probably need a real estate agent. However, considering the propensity of the complex situations that exist in real estate transactions, he might not be enough. Hence, it is highly likely that you may have to appoint a lawyer for real estate at some later stage.
Therefore, it is always good to arrange for the best real estate lawyer near me from the very beginning. This is because real estate lawyers aren’t just professionally equipped in legal matters related to real estate only. As noted above, they cannot just help you buy-sell real estate but also perform all tasks of a real estate agent.
Luckily for you, lawyers for real estate at Attorneys Real Estate Group can help you on multiple occasions in any real estate transaction. Whether you seek advice on any specific matter or want us to handle an entire real estate transaction, we can take care of everything.
Simply, give us a call at 916-702-8443 or visit our website at Attorneysre.com. You can also get free legal consultation by filling in the form at this link. One of our attorneys will get back to you as quickly as possible and will be glad to assist you. We look forward to welcoming you soon.