Real Estate Lawyers
Whether you are refinancing, selling or purchasing a home, one of the most important things you need to do is to identify an experienced real estate lawyer at the outset of the process. No matter which of the above listed situations applies to you, your lawyer’s responsibility is to ensure your rights are protected, that the transaction goes through with minimal or no problems and the paperwork is filed properly. There are many different roles that a real estate lawyer can play in this process and all of them can help guide you through what to expect and help you to avoid serious issues.
What Your Real Estate Lawyer Will Handle
If you opt to sell your home, your real estate lawyer is responsible for conducting the title search on the home to ensure there are no defects. This individual may also calculate any closing costs associated with the sale that you’d be responsible to pay, putting together a statement of adjustments for you, and drafting the deed for the home for purchaser. On closing day, your real estate lawyer will also handle the financial transaction and give you a check for whatever is left over after paying off the agent’s fees, legal fees and anything you owed on the mortgage.
If you are refinancing, your attorney is responsible for conducting the title search to ensure that the home is clear of defects. At this point the lawyer is responsible for registering the new mortgage amount and facilitating the remainder of the financial transaction. The lawyer may also put together a trust ledger statement.
If you are purchasing a home, identifying a real estate lawyer sooner rather than later is in your best interests. A soon as you are prepared to sign the offer to purchase you need to contact a real estate lawyer. Your lawyer has multiple responsibilities when you opt to purchase a home. These include:
- Conducting a title search
- Maintaining appropriate title insurance
- Registering the home in your name
- Putting together a statement of adjustments
- Facilitating financial transaction on closing day
When Do I Need to Contact a Real Estate Attorney?
For sellers and buyers, you need to contact a real estate lawyer as soon as you are prepared to sign an offer to purchase. Given that this is a legal document, you need to have an attorney review it because the consequences of breaking such a contract can be expensive.
Your lawyer can help walk you through all of the terms of the agreement so that you understand what you are responsible for. Your attorney will also interact with you again on closing day to handle the rest of the transaction but you want to have an established relationship with this person and have benefitted from their advice earlier on. In the event that you are only refinancing your existing home, you’ll only need to visit your real estate attorney once to sign all the paperwork associated with your new mortgage.
There are several different things you should look for in an experienced real estate lawyer. These include:
- Familiarity with the geographic area
- Experience with the type of property you’re considering
- Competitive fees
- A specialty in real estate law
Asking for references from other clients as well as the attorney’s own background in the field can identify whether or not this is the right person for you. Legal fees associated with hiring a real estate lawyer depend on how complicated the transaction is, as well, as the lawyer’s individual background. The cost will also change based on whether you’re refinancing, selling or purchasing. There is a difference between legal fees and disbursements.
Disbursements are typically expenses incurred by the lawyer while working with you and anything they are responsible for paying ahead of time on your behalf such as carrier fees, photocopying and faxing, and any fees associated with searches that the lawyer has to complete. Legal fees, however, are what you pay for the lawyer’s time on your case whether this is a flat fee or hourly. The lawyer may walk you through what you need to understand about title insurance and title registration.
The purpose of title insurance is to protect you from liability in the event that your attorney identifies an undetected title of defect. Title registration, however, is the process of shifting the title of the home from the seller’s name to yours. Both registration fees and insurance fees will need to be paid for by you on the closing day.
Identifying an attorney who has extensive experience in the real estate process can give you a great deal of peace of mind as well as clarity about what to expect as the process evolves. Working with someone who has extensive experience in your geographic area and with the type of property that you are considering can help you navigate this process easily