A real estate attorney’s motivation is about what is best for his or her client in a transaction, not whether the client decides to buy or sell a house or property. In the world of sales, there can be a tendency to downplay problems in the interest of closing the deal. By hiring a real estate attorney before you sign on with a Realtor®, and before you sign any contracts, you can know in advance how best to position and protect yourself related to negotiations about Realtor® fees, property inspection issues, offering prices and the actual buying or selling contract.
Buying Real Estate
Buying real estate is often the biggest investment of a person’s life. It involves many serious legal issues affecting the rights and obligations of both buyers and sellers. Not only will the parties enter into a legally binding contract, but buyers will be presented with many complicated documents at closing, including those related to the mortgage loan. While most purchases proceed smoothly, misunderstandings about obligations and rights of the parties are frequent.
Having an attorney to advise you about potential legal issues, negotiate the purchase contract, and explain the many loan and closing documents can help avoid those problems and ensure that your purchase transaction goes without a hitch.
Home Equity Loans
Home Equity Loans should be carefully considered to be sure the rate, terms, fees, and points are appropriate and understood before signing. Home owners should not borrow more than they can comfortably pay back and should be very wary of any lenders advising them to take more than the value of their home. Shopping the loan among various lenders will allow an opportunity to see offers side-by-side before finalizing the selection.
Be sure to know the length of the loan, interest rate, terms, current and future monthly payments, and insurance and/or fees that may not be included in the monthly quote. Determine whether and how the interest rate will change at any time during the loan, if there are balloon payments built in, what fees you’ll be charged at closing, and whether optional credit insurance is included.
Renovations and New Home Construction
Renovations and new home builds present their own set of possible legal and contract issues that a real estate attorney can help to navigate in advance, if you seek legal help before documents are signed. Once contracts are signed, you may be stuck with what is on the paper, committing you to a particular property, contractor, contract details, or construction or home equity loan.
If consulted in advance, a real estate attorney can advise about the best course of action and any potential pitfalls about which to be aware. Real estate attorneys can also advise you about how tolerant you should be about work performed by your contractor and sub-contractors and how best to accomplish cooperative correction of work about which you can’t (or shouldn’t) be tolerant.