For many people, buying a home is the most significant financial transaction of their lives. For others, such as commercial real estate brokers, these transactions are part of an ordinary business day. Some states require that you have a lawyer present at the closing table while others do not. If you are buying property in a state that does not require a lawyer’s participation, there are still many good reasons to have an attorney on your team. Here are some things to consider as you decide whether or not you need a real estate lawyer.
You May Not Have a Choice
In 21 states and the District of Columbia, real property transactions must be consummated by a lawyer who is educated in the rules of contract law. The lawyer’s job is to ensure that all the documents are accurate and without omissions that could cause problems down the road, such as an incomplete title search, a flawed inspection report or an inaccurate property survey. He or she will also be able to explain the purpose of each of the documents you will be asked to sign at closing and answer any questions that come up in the process.
Things Can Get Complicated
If your transaction is complicated, you may be well served by hiring a real estate law firm Austin TX. As a buyer, if the property is a foreclosure that is owned by a bank, it will add a layer of complexity to the contract. As the seller of a property that was inherited or is part of a property settlement in a divorce case, there will be additional considerations. Missteps here could be particularly problematic when emotions are already running high. A lawyer can help you navigate the process.
A Real Estate Agent Isn’t a Lawyer
Your real estate agent is skilled at finding properties that match your needs, showing you those properties and handling price negotiations. He or she can prepare the standard documents needed to finalize the transaction, make sure the title search and property inspection have been done and even introduce you to a potential mortgage broker. A lawyer can also do all those things. However, when a real estate transaction is more complicated than a simple purchase and sale agreement, it is important to make sure your bases are covered legally. That generally requires a lawyer.
Real estate transactions can be complex. Fortunately, there are professionals who are well versed in this area and know what to look for to prevent future headaches. Contract language can be confusing. In a situation where minor details can cause major problems, having a subject matter expert in your corner certainly can’t hurt.