If you are buying or selling real property, you can seek out the assistance of a real estate agent or try to get through the process using information obtained from the internet. So why would you want to hire an attorney to oversee the transaction? That can cost a lot of money, right? No – generally legal fees to handle a real estate settlement total less than $1,200.00 on a flat fee basis. Here are some good reasons to consider retaining legal counsel for a real property transaction.
It’s All in the Details
Every real estate deal, regardless of the size of the property, the dollar amount involved and the structures on the property, involves a substantial amount of documentation. In addition to the Agreement of Sale, you may need a mortgage, easement or restrictive covenant. You’ll also need to ensure that the property passes without any unknown liens or encumbrances, so you’ll need someone to handle the title work. If you are selling property, you will need a Deed, Affidavit of Title and Seller’s Residency Certification.
Then there’s the closing statement, which identifies how taxes get paid, how much is paid to whom and how title is transferred. You may be able to read and understand the closing statement, but you may not know what’s supposed to be there and what’s not.
Contingencies Almost Always Arise
In a perfect world, the transaction will go off without a hitch. But that’s seldom the case. What if the unit is in a homeowner’s association and you discover after you purchased it that it’s in violation of community rules. What if there are tenants in the property and you can’t get them to leave? What if the buyer’s financing falls through or the seller can’t provide clear title? In these situations, you’ll be thankful you have legal counsel who understands these issues and knows how to resolve them.
It’s the Largest Transaction of Your Life (Probably)
For most people, the purchase or sale of real property is the single largest financial transaction of their lives. You don’t want to run the risk that anything will go wrong. The money spent on legal counsel is money well spent.
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