A money bag and a wooden house on the scales. The concept of real estate purchase. Sale of property. Payment of the mortgage. Redemption of taxes. Tax refund. Legacy / Inheritance tax conceptDuring the home buying process, it’s common to think that you’ll only need a real estate agent to assist you through the transaction. However, depending on your state, you may be required to use an attorney to oversee the process. An attorney’s role in real estate transactions includes reviewing sales contracts, communicating with clients, and attending closings to make sure that the process runs smoothly and efficiently. Really, having a real estate attorney on your side is always a good idea.

Below, we discuss the role of an attorney in the home buying process, the reasons you should consider hiring an attorney, and how to find the right real estate attorney for your unique needs.

What is the role of an attorney in the home purchase process?

The home buying process is often complicated, especially for first-time homebuyers. Even if you’re not a first-time homebuyer, it can be helpful to have a skilled attorney on your side to protect your interests through the transaction. The role of an attorney in your process varies depending on the type of sale and phase of the sale. Generally speaking, it’s helpful to have an attorney look over the paperwork, which includes:

  • Purchase agreements
  • Disclosures
  • Home inspection reports
  • Title reports
  • Loan estimates
  • Closing disclosures

If you decide not to use the services of a real estate agent, working with legal aid to check your contracts is essential.

Why should I hire an attorney when I sell or buy a home?

While most real estate contracts are standardized and only require filling in a few blanks, some legal issues may arise that a real estate agent can’t fully resolve. This is when the help of a qualified attorney is beneficial in the home purchase process. With so much money on the line and high amounts of paperwork with significant ramifications, some sellers and buyers view the help of an attorney as invaluable. Although not all states require attorneys in the process, here are some additional circumstances that would indicate the assistance of an attorney:

  • Estate sales
  • Short sales
  • Property liens

We’ll be covering how they can help in detail below.

1. Estate sales

Estate sales happen upon the death of the owner of a property, and having an attorney guide you through this process is essential. This is because estate sales generally aim to sell the property for top dollar and as soon as possible. Other times when an estate sale may occur that doesn’t include death include:

  • Divorce
  • Bankruptcy
  • Moving to a retirement home or care facility
  • Downsizing
  • Foreclosure

Since there are new issues and laws that can come about through the estate planning process, it’s important to discuss all questions that you have with a qualified estate attorney. Estate planning attorneys can guide you through the process of an estate sale to help you make the best decisions for your unique situation.

2. Short sales

A short sale is another complex process that attorneys can assist with. A short sale is the sale of a home when the homeowner cannot keep up with their mortgage payments. This will result in the eventual relinquishment of the property. They will generally sell the property for less than the amount due on the mortgage, and all proceeds of the sale go to the lender to recoup their money from the loan.

Also known as a pre-foreclosure sale, short sales can be lengthy and require paperwork. Your legal representation should look over the paperwork to ensure that your interests are protected before you choose to sign any documents.

3. Property liens

Finally, when there are liens on your property, enlisting the help of an attorney is helpful to resolve the issues of the lien — and get you to the closing table as soon as possible. The attorneys’ role when there are liens on the property is to communicate with the title companies to ensure that all administrative processes are handled and that all lien holders are paid accordingly.

How to find the right real estate attorney

Knowing that you need an attorney during the home buying process is the first step… but now, you need to find the right attorney for your needs and case. The best way to do this is to ask for recommendations. Consulting your friends and family for reliable local real estate attorneys can help you connect with experts in the field who can quickly assist you in your legal needs.

Also, if you’re working with a real estate agent, they likely know attorneys that can help their clients through the purchase or sale process. Investing in a qualified attorney with real estate experience is important to navigating the buying process, and can make the process easier for everyone involved.

Ascent Law is here to help you navigate home bankruptcies and foreclosures

Facing foreclosure or prolonged financial difficulty? Reach out to Ascent Law. Our experts are knowledgeable in the processes that you’ll face and can create a plan of success to help you navigate the process. Connect with us today at (801)-432-8682.

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