What a Real Estate Attorney does for Sellers

Legal Article

What a Real Estate Attorney does for Sellers

Real estate attorneys commonly assist property owners who are looking to or are in the process of selling their home. Further, a real estate attorney can assist property owners from the beginning to end of their deal. Below are some of the most common and useful ways a real estate attorney can help property sellers.

Do You Need a Real Estate Attorney for Real Estate Transactions

While a real estate attorney is a useful tool in most real estate transactions, there are a few states who actually require that a buyer and seller utilize a real estate attorney. States that require a real estate attorney include Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. Each of these states has different laws concerning how involved a real estate attorney must be. Additionally, it is important to keep up with these and other state laws as the requirement to hire an attorney for real estate transactions could quickly change.

Should you Hire a Real Estate Attorney When Selling your Home if you Do Not Legally Need One

There are many benefits to hiring a real estate attorney when selling your property, especially if you are working on a complex deal. Most people assume complex real estate deals focus on large commercial construction projects, office buildings, or expensive pieces of residential real estate. However, each real estate transaction is different, and even small property transactions could quickly become complex.

Further, you should immediately hire a real estate attorney if you have any questions concerning real estate law or taxes. Not only will you receive expert advice on the issue. However, most states disallow real estate agents from giving legal or tax advice on property transactions.

Below are the two most common reasons why a property seller will hire a real estate attorney.

You Experience Complications

If you feel that selling your property may raise some legal issues or at the very least some complex legal questions, you should invest in a real estate lawyer. Issues or complex questions covers a large portion of real estate transaction and most commonly includes reviewing a co-op property lease, a developer-drafted home contract, and handling community development agreements. Additionally, if you are using private financings—such as a loan from a friend or family—you will likely need a lawyer to create a new specific contract for you.

Another common issue that requires a real estate attorney is joint purchase agreements. As this purchase involves multiple parties, you will likely need to utilize a co-buyer agreement and state exactly who will hold the title.

There are also issues concerning what must be put into writing to protect both parties in the agreement. For example, a property may have a tenant that must move out before closing. Additionally, the buyer of the property may want to move their belongings into the property before the closing. A final common issue is that the buyer of the property will allow the seller to live on the property for a given period of time after closing. While each of these issues could be taken care of quickly, it is also possible that without a contract, one party could take advantage of the other.

Finally, unforeseen legal issues could occur such as finding a legal claim against the property at the last moment, the title report uncovers an issue with the property line, or the property owner must define an easement. Each of these issues requires the expert knowledge that only a real estate attorney has.

Protection Against Future Liability

A purchase agreement is a legal contract that outlines the legal rights of a seller and buyer. A lawyer is key in this situation. They can review the contract and ensure that you receive the necessary protections and assurances. If you sign a purchase agreement that is incomplete or non-binding, you leave yourself vulnerable to legal issues later on. For example, a seller may create a purchase agreement disclosing that they have a leaky basement. Further, the buyer acknowledges this fact and goes forward with purchasing the property anyway. After purchasing the home, the buyer places valuable belongings in the basement that are ruined after heavy rain. While the seller was not technically liable for damages, because of the flawed purchase agreement, the buyer can sue the seller for the damages sustained to their personal property.

Additional Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Attorney

Below are a few more reasons why a property seller may consider hiring a real estate attorney.

  • Liens: If there are any existing liens on your home, a real estate attorney can help you clear these claims. By doing so, they create a path to closing.
  • Short Sale: As the lender to your property is agreeing to sell your home for less than you owe. Thus, there are additional steps you must take before closing.
  • Estate Sale: If you inherited the home you are selling, an attorney is vital to collect all the required documents. Further, they can ensure that no issues occur with the sale of the property.

Final Thoughts

With over 20 years of experience, Antonoplos & Associates real estate attorneys have the knowledge and experience required to assist clients with real estate litigation in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Furthermore, our attorneys have a strong background in real estate, construction law, and business law. Because of this experience, we are can assist clients with most aspects of real estate litigation. Finally, we are able to help you before, during, and after your real estate litigation. This is true whether you need assistance with personal or commercial legal issues.

Contact Our DC Law Office for More Information

Finally, for more information on what a real estate attorney does for sellers, contact us at 202-803-5676. You can also directly schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys. Additionally, for general information regarding real estate law, check out our blog.