One of the most common misconceptions people have is that real estate attorneys only handle transactions in real estate. While there are certainly many who do this, the truth is that any type of legal matter can be handled by an attorney. From drafting contracts to helping owners negotiate tax liens, attorneys can be found everywhere.
One such example is when a buyer or seller agrees to purchase a home from the seller through a seller’s agent. Typically, a real estate attorney is involved at the closing process as well. This is when the buyer and seller agree to finalize all aspects of the transaction including the purchase agreement, financing, and property ownership. In many instances, the transaction will go to court, where the lawyer for both parties will have to come to an agreement regarding who gets to pay what amounts to what due on the closing transaction.
Because the transaction is so important, it is often wise to hire a real estate attorney to help out with the closing proceedings. An expert can not only help in the negotiations but also present relevant documents to add to the paperwork during the closing proceedings. These documents may need to be altered or replaced if there is any conflict during the closing process. In short, the attorney can help to protect both the seller and buyer in the transaction.
Another situation where an attorney can be helpful comes after the transaction has been completed. If there is any dispute over the purchase contract or about the ownership of the home, a lawyer may be able to add clarity and calm to the situation. Since this is the point where the two parties must decide on who will pay what amount to buy the home, the negotiation may prove to be heated. In these situations, the lawyer can be helpful by providing the buyer and seller with options.
Title companies and banks may refuse to release property taxes or other fees from the escrow account for a short sale. This is another situation where the services of a real estate attorney are needed. In short, the buyer or seller may be unable to release funds to complete the transaction without first satisfying the lender. In a short sale, there is typically no other recourse but to agree to settle the balance due from the escrow account.
Another situation where the use of a real estate attorney is helpful comes after the transaction has been closed and the money and property are already owned. In this case, the parties involved may not feel comfortable negotiating with each other on an individual basis. In order to save time and avoid future problems, the two parties may hire a third party to mediate the problem. If you are considering whether or not to hire a third-party to mediate a transaction, you should consult with a lawyer before doing so.