What Services Does A Real Estate Attorney Provide In A Residential Or Commercial Real Estate Transaction?
There are two different roles that I will play in a residential real estate transaction. At the beginning, I will review the purchase and sales contract that was prepared by the real estate agent to ensure that it is accurate and complete. More often, however, I’ll get involved after the contract has been signed in order to address title issues and other issues that may prevent the purchase and sale from closing. In some instances, sellers choose to have an attorney handle all aspects of the transaction, especially if they can sell the home with little or no marketing. I don’t get involved in the marketing side of things, but if someone just wants to do a sale by owner, then they’ll hire me to draft the purchase contract and assist with the closing of the sale.
In commercial real estate transactions, most commercial brokers use standard forms to create contracts, but it’s much more common for an attorney to draft the purchase contract—especially if there are multiple aspects to the transaction or the property has a high sales price. The role of an attorney is much more expansive in a commercial transaction as opposed to a residential transaction. In both types of transactions, I will review the title commitment, which is issued by the title company to reflect the current status of the title to the property. If there are issues with the title that may prevent the transaction from closing, then I might get involved to address those issues. For example, I recently helped clear a title of a mortgage and a deed of trust, both of which should have been cleared years ago through bankruptcy court proceedings. I worked to convince the title company to treat those liens as nonexistent or to insure around them so that the buyer was protected against any claim arising under those liens.
In both residential and commercial transactions, clients often request my assistance in understanding the loan documents they have to sign. These documents can be extensive and overwhelming, especially for someone who has not purchased property before.
Do I Need A Real Estate Attorney If I Already Have A Real Estate Broker In Washington?
A real estate agent isn’t authorized to practice law, so they cannot provide legal advice. If a buyer or seller wants to know what a particular clause means in the contract, the broker is not supposed to advise them of the meaning. Similarly, if there is an issue with the title, the broker won’t have the means to address it. For these reasons, it is necessary and beneficial to have a real estate attorney involved in the transaction.
When Is The Best Time To Consult A Real Estate Attorney In A Transaction?
It wouldn’t hurt to touch base with the real estate attorney at the beginning of the transaction, particularly to review the disclosure requirements and get an idea of how the process should unfold. After an initial meeting with the real estate attorney, the client will work with the real estate agent to market their property and get it under contract. During the various stages of closing, the client can reach out to the real estate attorney for assistance if he or she runs into roadblocks.
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