What an Attorney Does for Someone Buying a Home

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When buying a home, a real estate agent is not the only one who can help out home buyers.  Attorneys are helping home buyers both behind the scenes and actively alongside with the buyer.

Attorneys understand the finer points of the law when it comes to buying a home and that can provide the buyer an advantage they might not otherwise have.

Many potential home buyers will ask what does a real estate attorney do. There are several things an attorney in real estate does to protect a buyer's interests.

Many things happen behind the scenes in a real estate transaction.

Let's learn about some of the common ways an attorney can help a buyer purchase a home.

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Look For A Real Estate Attorney

Just as if you have allergies in need of treatment you don’t visit a hand surgeon same goes with finding an attorney. When trying to find an attorney in real estate, ask friends or family for a referral.

Your real estate agent may also work closely with skilled attorneys. As a last resort, you can try a Google search for real estate attorneys near me.

Attorneys specialize in their field and while a general attorney may have some knowledge to guide a home buyer through the process of buying a home, they may not have the specialized knowledge that a real estate attorney has.

A real estate lawyer will know about the different laws in different areas and how they apply to a particular situation.  The real estate attorney deals with real estate matters on a daily basis and will have the knowledge to get the right answers for the specific real estate questions.

Whether you are buying land or a house, the process involves quite a bit of paperwork and leg work.

From understanding the disclosure forms, to properly preparing a contract to purchase a home.  When done wrong, it can be very costly to the buyer.

Mistakes Are Made Without an Attorney For Real Estate

Buying a home is one of the most expensive purchases a person will make in their lifetime.  There are important timelines to follow and missing those timelines can mean having to buy a house without an inspection period or more.

The are common real estate contingencies that attorneys consult their clients about having in contracts.

Real estate agents usually work from pre-made form contracts where they should only be filling in the blanks.  If the language needs to be changed then an attorney should be doing that and not a real estate agent.

If a real estate agent offers to make such language edits an attorney should be consulted in order to make sure the language meets the needs of the buyer.

Using the wrong language can resulted in a void contract or even worse a buyer being force to buy a home in bad shape.

You will want the proper terms so you can cancel the contract, if need be on your terms.

Title Work is Done By Real Estate Attorneys

Buying a home is more than just applying for a mortgage and sending in an offer.  Behind the scenes title work is done to make sure that the owners who currently own the house do in fact own it and there are no hidden liens on the property so that the new owner of the property does not get hit with any unexpected bills.

Title work is performed by title companies and involves searching through the records of past transfers of the property to make sure there is no break in the chain of title.

Title companies are usually owned and run by attorneys (not all of them) as there is a lot of behind the scenes legal research that needs to be done for preparing the final deed for the new owners.

Those title companies that are not own and/or run by attorneys will interact regularly with attorneys when title opinions need to be made and more.

Title opinions are usually written up by attorneys and provide details on current and past ownership of real estate.  When buying title insurance from a title insurance company a title opinion will be needed before the insurance can be issued.

Work Done By Attorneys For Real Estate After The Purchase

A real estate lawyer's work is never done. These are some of the things an attorney for real estate might do after a closing.

Property Taxes

After purchasing a home the home buyer can still benefit from the help of an attorney.  Taxes is one of those particular areas where if the value of the property is below what the local government is saying it is appealing that valuation could result in some savings on the tax bill.

Of course, this is a facts and circumstances type of thing and every situation is different.  Hence by asking your attorney about the process to appeal a tax valuation and finding out if indeed the actual value is lower you could save on taxes in the long run.

Lawsuits

While law suits are never fun let alone cheap, if the seller or a contractor happens to do shoddy work and you are suffering as a result of it your attorney can help determine whether there is a case to be filed or not.

Fix and flips have been the recent investor rage these days and not all investors make the proper repairs and/or updates.

Even worse some of the work done may have been unpermitted.  In order to sort through the issues and determine if it makes financial sense to file a lawsuit your real estate attorney should be consulted.

Homeowners have to bring in many different types of contractors to maintain and update their home.  Bad contractors slip through and can cause more problems than good.

Again, the homeowner needs to weigh whether it makes sense to sue a contractor or move on due to the costs of filing a lawsuit involve.

Some of those contractors may have done shoddy work and then expect payment.  Due to the homeowner not paying the contractor they can file a lien on the property.  That lien can prevent the homeowner from selling the home.

A real estate attorney can guide the homeowner on how to get the lien removed through the right channels.

Final Thoughts

An attorney can provide valuable insight to home buyers and homeowners.  By meeting with a real estate attorney before you need them you can better position yourself to get their help.

Calling up an attorney out of the blue and expecting immediate attention when they have other clients as well will not work out well.

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Bill Gassett is an avid writer for numerous real estate topics including finance, mortgages, moving, home improvement, and general real estate. His work has been featured on numerous prestigious real estate publications.

Massachusetts State
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