If you're looking to buy or sell a home or other property, you're probably already talking to a real estate broker and a mortgage lender. But what about a real estate lawyer?
There are many parts of a typical real estate transaction that can use a real estate lawyer's expertise. And if your real estate deal turns out to be atypical, having a real estate lawyer on your side can definitely pay off.
Here are five things a real estate lawyer can do that you probably can't:
- Draft legal documents (and not mess them up). Real estate transactions involve mounds of documents. A real estate broker can help you fill out boilerplate forms, but a real estate attorney can draft forms suited to your exact needs.
- Handle negotiations with all parties involved. Chances are, you won't have the time or energy to deal with all the moving parts of your real estate deal. An attorney can help negotiate the most favorable terms for your transaction, not just with the other party, but also any financial institutions involved in the purchase or potential developers of the property.
- Research the title. Though you may think you're buying the property you see, legally speaking you're only buying the title to that piece of real estate held by the seller. A real estate attorney can make sure a property's title is not clouded by other ownership claims, liens, or any other title defects that can cause problems down the road.
- Review all aspects of the transaction. Speaking of problems, troublesome issues with your real estate transaction may not be apparent for months or even years after the fact. A real estate attorney can review your transaction to make sure everything that needed to get done actually did get done in the right way. An attorney can also explain any potential pitfalls as well as legal or tax issues that may arise after the transaction.
- Protect your interests in litigation. Hopefully everything goes smooth and both sides are happy with the transaction. If there are problems following the deal, however, an attorney familiar with the transaction and the property details will be able to protect your interests in court.
In some states, like Massachusetts, an attorney may be required for some portions of a real estate transaction. But even if your state doesn't require it, working with an experienced real estate attorney can help ensure that your real estate transaction gets done the right way.