Ways a real estate lawyer can help you


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05 23rd, 2006

In earlier days there was just one lawyer involved in the sale of a house; the one that handled the closing of the sale. He sat at the head of the table and moved the paperwork back and forth between the seller and the buyer. He was the one that held the money until all of the paperwork was done. He was the disinterested observer, not serving the direct interest of either party.

As the price of properties goes higher and higher, the restrictive covenants and association by-laws become more common, and the loans get more complicated, it is becoming more important to have your own real estate lawyer involved in the buying or selling of a house. Buying and selling property require lots of legal paperwork; agent contracts, sales contracts, mortgages, the list seems endless. All of these documents place legal obligations and restrictions on the parties to the sale. Understanding all of these documents requires a firm knowledge of Real Estate Law. In other words, you need a real estate lawyer .

When you decide that you want to buy or sell a house, the first person that you normally go to look for is an agent. This is the person that is responsible for the mechanics of buying or selling a house. The important thing that you have to establish first thing is who the agent works for. You want the agent to work for you and your best interests. The agentís responsibilities and obligations are outlined in the contract that you sign with that agent. Unless you are routinely flipping houses, you probably will not be familiar with all of the terms and requirements of this type contract. Get your real estate lawyer to review the contract and explain exactly what you and the agent are agreeing to.

Anyone who has been listening to the news lately knows that there have been substantial problems with some real estate loans that have resulted in a large number of people being kicked out of their new houses. While most of these have dealt with people being approved for loan amounts that they couldnít afford, many have also had clauses that caused payments to increase sharply without apparent warning. Review of the loan documents by a qualified Real Estate Lawyer before they were signed could have prevented many of these foreclosures.

While a good Real Estate Agent should be able to ensure that a standard sales contract does not include any unusual provisions, this can be one of the most involved contracts that most people will ever sign. Fortunately, todayís real estate market has slowed down some, so there will usually be time to have a real estate lawyer review it before it is signed. If there is a time constraint, have your lawyer review it after it is signed. Most states now have a cooling off period on sales contracts, so you have time to back out of a bad agreement.

Finally, consider having your attorney go to closing with you. While the real estate lawyer handling the closing is supposed to be impartial, it would be a good idea to have someone on your side of the table that is looking out for your interests. For most people buying or selling a house is the most complicated and largest legal transaction that a person will make in their lives. Having your real estate lawyer sitting next to you to make sure that your interests are being looked out for will relieve a lot of the stress associated with that sale.