sellers attorney featured imageAs a home seller, you may think you will save money in the long run by not hiring an attorney to guide you through the legal aspects of your sale. In actuality, it could end up costing you more not to! Hiring a real estate attorney is an important piece in the home-selling process that can save you from potential legal difficulties and financial losses. A real estate attorney can help ensure that all contracts and documents are legally sound, negotiate on your behalf, and protect your interests throughout the transaction. Without the expertise of a knowledgeable attorney, you might overlook critical details or make errors that could lead to lawsuits or financial distress. Essentially, the cost of hiring an attorney is worth it for the peace of mind and financial security during the sale of your home. Here are just a few benefits of hiring a real estate attorney to sell your home:

Document Review & Preparation

Every transaction starts with a purchase agreement and in most states that means a Purchase and Sale agreement. This is a binding contract and it is critically important because it determines the terms that the buyers and sellers are expected to adhere to, as well as important dates that occur during the transaction.  Typically, it is the seller’s responsibility to provide the Purchase and Sale agreement. However, since most home sellers are not attorneys, they are best advised to leave the drafting of these documents to a legal professional. An experienced real estate attorney will have the expert knowledge needed to build a Purchase and Sale agreement that protects the seller’s interests. A seller’s attorney can also assist in the preparation and review of special documents that could arise during a real estate transaction. These include, for example:

  • Title Documents: Documents ensuring that the seller has a clear title to the property up for sale
  • Disclosure Forms: These documents depend on the specific property, but they typically include disclosures on the property’s condition, known defects, and other relevant information
  • Loan Documents: If the seller has an outstanding mortgage, an attorney can help navigate the process of satisfying these obligations
  • Contingency Documents: If there are any contingencies in the contract, including inspection or financial, an attorney can make sure each is addressed appropriately 
  • Escrow Guidelines: A real estate attorney can assist in outlining the instructions for escrow during the transaction
  • Closing Documents: These documents outline the financial details of the transaction, including the closing costs and proceeds from the sale

Home Inspection/Use and Occupancy Negotiations

Depending on your sale circumstances an attorney may also be needed to prepare the revisions to the Purchase and Sale Agreement or perhaps a repair agreement after the home inspection, ensuring that any necessary repairs are addressed. Additionally, if you need more time to move out of the home after the closing, a ‘use of occupancy’ or a ‘rent back’ agreement may need to be negotiated with the buyer. Having an attorney working for you will represent your best interests during this process, providing legal guidance, negotiating on your behalf, and ensuring that every agreed-upon term is carried out correctly. 

Deed Preparation

Your real estate attorney will prepare your deed to transfer to the buyer at closing. Again, this is a legal document that needs to be done right, and each state has different legal requirements. While a closing attorney, who represents the buyer’s lender and sometimes the buyer themselves, could prepare this for you, they will typically charge you an extra fee. Why not invest in someone who is solely focused on protecting YOUR interests? 

In addition to preparing the deed, your attorney should also be responsible for ordering any required mortgage payoffs and clearing any title issues should they arise. This is to ensure that all aspects of the transaction are handled efficiently, reducing the risk of delays. A seller’s attorney will work directly with the closing attorney throughout the process. When necessary, most seller’s attorneys will attend closings on behalf of the seller and will facilitate the signing of the deed and any additional documents. This arrangement provides added convenience and peace of mind, allowing you to focus on other aspects of the sale while your attorney manages the legal details.

Asset Protection

Selling a home is often the biggest transaction of one’s life. Spending upfront on legal counsel to ensure that your interests and assets are protected is not only wise, but can save you time, money, and stress in the long run. Considering all of the potential issues that could arise during a real estate transaction, having the knowledge and guidance of an expert attorney is truly well worth the cost. Throughout the entire process, your attorney can provide invaluable insight and assistance. 

Furthermore, your attorney can help you avoid costly mistakes and legal disputes throughout the transaction such as addressing potential liabilities, resolving title issues, and more. With their expert guidance on your side, you will be well-equipped to handle any situation that may arise. Additionally, an attorney can offer personalized guidance tailored to your specific needs and priorities. By investing in proper legal counsel, you can have confidence and peace of mind that your assets are protected every step of the way.

Choosing the Right Real Estate Attorney for YOU

The last and most important aspect of hiring an attorney to represent you in your home sale is to make sure you hire a professional who specializes in real estate sales.  This is so important, yet it is too often overlooked by buyers and sellers. Just like hiring the right agent is imperative to a successful home purchase, hiring the right real estate attorney is essential as well.  A real estate attorney is someone who represents buyers and sellers in property transactions every day, bringing specialized knowledge and experience to the table. A true real estate attorney works with home buyers, home sellers, and people refinancing their homes to negotiate a proper Purchase and Sale Agreement, do title research, or prepare a CD (Closing Disclosure) statement, among many other things.

Ensuring that your attorney is well-versed in real estate law and transactions can provide peace of mind throughout the home sale process. Knowing that you are protected should any dispute arise during the property purchase and ensuring that your best interests are guarded safely. While there may be an additional fee associated with hiring a specialized attorney, the benefits of expert guidance and protection are truly priceless when it comes to the significant financial and legal implications of a home sale.