“Why would I pay for something when I can do it myself – for free?” That’s the question most folks ask when someone suggests hiring a real estate lawyer. Here are five compelling reasons to rethink this inquiry.
1. Contracts Are Complex
There is absolutely nothing that prevents buyers and sellers from negotiating the terms of an agreement on their own. But to make it legally binding, they must memorialize their agreement in writing. In addition to transcribing the actual content of the contract, an experienced attorney will also ensure that it adheres to all state laws. While it is true that real estate agents can help with standard contracts, they may not have the legal knowledge or experience needed to catch serious errors before an agreement is finalized. As such, it is often a good idea to have the contract reviewed by an attorney before either party signs it.
2. Liens May Be An Issue
Anybody can put up a “for sale” sign, but not every owner has the right to sell. Because it is often a family’s largest asset, the home is an obvious target when creditors are owed money they cannot collect. Whether that creditor is a bank or the IRS, property and judgment liens may stand in the way of a sale. As they are a matter of public record, anyone can search for them. But since they work closely with title search companies, attorneys can provide this vital service much faster and at a much lower cost.
3. Paperwork Must Be Filed
Even the simplest land deal requires both parties to file paperwork at the state and/or county level. An experienced real estate lawyer will make sure all legal documents are submitted quickly and efficiently. Most importantly, he or she will ensure that the real estate deed is filed with the appropriate state agency, and that it is duly recorded. Failure to complete this crucial step could prevent a new owner from selling the property, taking out a home equity line of credit, or refinancing the mortgage.
4. Government Red Tape
When the transaction involves a commercial property, there are several additional steps a new owner must take. An experienced real estate lawyer can help in establishing a valid business entity, obtain a tax identification number, and secure an actual business license through the local municipality. All of these important actions can help the new owner focus on the grand opening, rather than wasting time on government red tape.
5. Emotion Clouds Judgment
Unlike the real estate agent who is motivated by commission to make a deal happen, a reputable attorney has no such conflict of interest. He or she simply dispenses advice based on the law, not on individual wants and needs. That kind of dispassionate, level-headed presence is often sorely needed during negotiations.
An experienced real estate lawyer can help save buyers and sellers time and money on property transactions.