Buying a home involves the law of real property, which is why a real estate lawyer who is trained and experienced in handling the unique issues of this practice is needed to ensure that your transaction goes smoothly.
Even if the presence of a real estate attorney is not required during the course of negotiations, both buyer and seller may need to consult with a lawyer regarding certain issues, like the tax consequences of the transaction. A lawyer will also help explain and make changes or additions to the purchase agreement, which is the most important document during this transaction so that it reflects the buyer’s and the seller’s desires. And since most home buyers finance a significant portion of the home’s purchase price with a mortgage loan from a lending institution, the purchase agreement should contain a provision that it is subject to the buyer’s obtaining a commitment for home financing.
Once the purchase agreement is signed, the state of the seller’s title to the property needs to be established to the buyer’s and the finance institution’s satisfaction. A title search is usually ordered from an abstract or title insurance company but in some states, title insurance is not typical. In such cases, a real estate lawyer is important in reviewing the status of the title and rendering an opinion of the title instead of a title policy.
On the other hand, if you are located in an area where title insurance is customary, a lawyer can help your review the title search and explicate the title exceptions as to what is not insured. A lawyer will also help determine whether the legal description is accurate and if there are any problems with adjoining or previous owners.
A real estate lawyer is particularly important during the preparation of the closing statement when the deed and other closing papers must be prepared. An attorney can help explain the nature, amount, and fairness of closing costs. As the deed and mortgage instruments are signed, a real estate attorney can help give you the assurance that these documents are properly executed and explained to the different parties involved.
It is best to seek the advice of a real estate lawyer from the time you decide to buy a home until the actual closing. The most important benefit of being represented by a real estate attorney during this entire period would be to avoid the conflicting interests of the parties. The buyer’s and seller’s interests can likely be at odds with each other, as well as those of professionals involved in the sale, throughout this process. The real estate broker would be serving the seller, while the lender would be serving the buyer. Both professionals would want to see the deal go through, mainly because that is how they will get compensated. Only the respective real estate lawyers of the buyer and the seller can serve only their own clients’ best interests.
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