What Does a Real Estate Lawyer Do?

By TradeCasa Team

A real estate lawyer will play an important part in the for sale by owner sales process. It is important to understand what a lawyer does to ensure you receive the right level of support.

If you are buying or selling a home, especially for sale by owner, it is imperative that you retain the services of a real estate attorney. Although, in some states it may not be mandatory to do so, having a real estate attorney in your corner will always ensure that you are legally protected when signing contracts and closing your purchase or sale.

A real estate lawyer performs several very important tasks to help you complete your transaction. When selling FSBO it is customary for the vendors attorney to prepare the first draft of the contract of sale. If you are selling through an agent, this task will be performed by your real estate professional. Most vendor attorneys start with a standardized form and then add a rider with additional terms to be negotiated with the buyers. At this point the buyers are encouraged to have the contract reviewed by their own legal counsel before signing.

Once the attorneys have finalized the contract and the buyer and seller have agreed to all the terms, the contract is signed by both parties. The buyers will then send the seller’s attorney a down payment, which can be lost if the buyer decides to walk away from the deal without a reason contemplated by the contract. Depending on your deal and location, the down payment amount may vary between 5% to 15% of the sale price, you are always advised to check with your attorney or real estate agent as to what they suggest may be reasonable.

Once the contract is singed and down payment has been received by the vendors lawyer, the attorney will need to do several things to prepare for a closing. First, the attorney will order a title report to see if there are any issues that sellers must resolve before a closing. These may include liens or violations against the property. Second, the attorney will work with you to provide information and documents requested by lenders in connection with your mortgage applications. Third, your attorney will calculate the amounts that you will owe at closing to the sellers, the seller’s lender, and the title company, among others.

Finally, your attorney will represent you at the closing, reviewing and advising you on the documents that you are signing, such as the deed, transfer taxes and mortgage documents, and making sure that all payments are accurately made. In short, a real estate attorney will give you a piece of mind from every possible angle while offering valuable legal advice on the entire home sales process!