What Does a Real Estate Attorney Do?

A Real Estate Attorney is a legal professional who helps with buying and selling property. They can help you understand laws and regulations, draft complicated documents and even represent you at closing. They will work closely with you, your realtor and your lender to make sure that the transaction is completed without any problems. If you’re purchasing a property with out-of-the-ordinary elements, like an environmental contaminant or a historic preservation element, you’ll want a lawyer to make sure that the contract properly addresses those concerns.

Most states have laws requiring the involvement of a real estate attorney during a real estate transaction, particularly at closing. Some of these include Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia.

If you’re a seller, a real estate attorney will draft the initial contract of sale for your property. They may start with a standard form and add additional terms that need to be negotiated with the buyer, or they may write an entirely new document for your sale. Real estate attorneys can also review and approve title commitments, order a lien search and Eagle -9 insurance (for coops), handle escrow, and attend the closing with you.

When you’re a buyer, a real estate attorney can review all the paperwork before you sign it. They can advise you on the pros and cons of different clauses in the contract, such as the home warranty, the earnest money deposit and the contingencies. They can also explain the status of the title and what rights you will have as a property owner, such as easements, restrictions, and agreements with previous owners.

Many buyers’ contracts include a 5-day period during which they can ask their attorney to review and propose changes to the contract. This is known as the “attorney review period.” A good real estate attorney will ensure that this is handled appropriately and quickly, so that you can move forward with your purchase without any delays or complications.

If the buyer and seller cannot reach an agreement on modification proposals, either party can terminate the contract with no penalty if they’ve followed their state’s law. A real estate attorney can also help resolve these disputes, and may be able to recommend an arbitrator for you.

When choosing a real estate attorney, you should look for one who specializes in residential and commercial real estate. You can find a reputable attorney by using your state’s bar association directory or online review websites. You should also consider the percentage of their practice that real estate law makes up. You’ll want to make sure that at least 30 percent of their legal expertise is in this area. Your real estate agent might be able to recommend a good lawyer as well. They may have worked with a lot of these professionals over the years and can be a good source of information about them. You can also ask your friends and family for recommendations if they’ve recently used the services of a real estate attorney.

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