Why You Need A Real Estate Attorney Even If You Have A Broker
There are many costs to take into account in every property transaction. It’s only natural to question these costs and look for ways to save money. One way people try to reduce costs is by cutting down on the number of professionals they hire to help them complete the transaction. Two of these professionals often get confused with one another: the real estate broker and the real estate attorney. Many buyers and sellers wonder if they need to hire an attorney if they have a broker.
The Difference Between Real Estate Brokers And A Real Estate Attorney
The confusion over the services provided by the broker versus the attorney probably stems from the fact that most buyers enter into a property search with the knowledge that the broker is “representing” them. While this is true, it is not completely accurate. The broker represents his or her clients in a property transaction by presenting and accepting offers and communicating with the other agent, the title company and even the lender. But brokers and agents are not lawyers. They do not have to hold a law degree in order to do their jobs and they are not permitted to give legal advice.
Keep in mind, it’s in the broker’s best interests to have your transaction go through. They don’t get paid unless your deal closes. Unscrupulous agents may not have your best interests in mind, especially if there’s a chance those interests could cause the deal to fall apart.
A real estate attorney, on the other hand, is only interested in the legal aspects of the transaction. Attorneys get paid a flat fee or are paid an hourly rate for their work whether the deal goes through or not so they are in a better position to provide you with unbiased advice. A lawyer will review the closing documents, mortgage terms and related paperwork for legal compliance and will be able to explain to you what your rights and obligations are under the contract. They will consider the “what if” questions and make sure all of the legal details are in order to prevent conflicts at closing or further down the road.
A Real Estate Attorney Protects Your Interests
Property purchases are complex transactions that will affect your finances and your life for years to come. There are many moving parts and nothing is guaranteed until the contracts are signed. It only makes sense to have a legal professional review the contracts and terms of the transaction to make sure all of the legal requirements are being met and you aren’t getting yourself into a bad situation. This type of preventative measure will cost you far less than the money you’d need to pay to hire a lawyer to represent you in a lawsuit down the road.
A real estate attorney can help you in the following ways:
• Draft contracts that spell out the obligations of one or both parties regarding the property sale or lease.
• Perform research on the property to ensure it is legally available for sale.
• If you are performing work on the property, a lawyer can make sure you are in compliance with local zoning laws and can draft contracts for use with the construction workers.
• Provide you with information on the tax consequences of your purchase.
• Help you understand the terms of your loan, your financial obligations and your rights under the terms.
Real estate brokers still have their place and can provide valuable advice and insights into the property and location, but for the best protection of your legal and financial interests, consult a real estate attorney.