People who are embarking down the complicated road of property transactions often question whether they will need a real estate attorney to get them to closing. Individuals on the buyer side typically wonder whether they can simply rely on their realtor and avoid the additional cost of a legal expert. Although every state has different requirements, here are four universal reasons why having a lawyer to guide you to the end of your realty deal may ultimately be more cost effective.
1. You Are an Out of Town Buyer
Buying a house when you're from out of town and unfamiliar with the regulations and local customs in your new city can be overwhelming. Once you find your dream home, a real estate attorney can be essential in negotiating and executing the contract, assisting you in finding the best mortgage, and also helping you to close the mortgage. Errors that occur during the buying process always have the potential to result in the loss of your deposit and could even cause you to incur substantial legal fees if litigation were to result.
2. You Are in a Hurricane, Flood, or Tornado Zone
If you're located in a hurricane, flood, or tornado zone, you may need a lawyer to walk you through the terms of any required supplementary homeowners insurance. The amount of forms that need to be signed when you're purchasing a house can be daunting, and if you're not careful, you may overlook something important. For example, in some cases you could be required to buy supplemental homeowners insurance, such as flood insurance. Hiring someone with legal expertise can help you avoid confusion that could potentially derail your ability to qualify for a mortgage.
3. The Land Is Owned by the Bank
If you're trying to buy something that is bank-owned, you may be excited by the prospect of getting a great deal, but contract negotiations can be lengthy and complex. A lawyer can be essential during these negotiations and in making sure the home you're looking at is competitively priced. In addition, bank-owned houses are generally sold "as is" and can have defects that would be expensive to repair. Working with a legal advisor can help you investigate the bank's price as well as the potential costs involved with repairs.
4. The Property Has Exterior Improvements
If the house you're pursuing has had any improvements to the lot, such as a pool, fence, garage, or an outdoor shed, it may be necessary to have a real estate attorney review the deed and conduct a survey of the lot. A survey can make sure that all improvements were built properly and according to code as well as ensure that nothing is encroaching onto your neighbor's property. Without a survey, you may incur expenses after you move in and realize you are infringing on your neighbor, or you may need to rebuild something that is not up to code.
Considering all of the complexities involved with becoming a homebuyer, once you have begun the process, you will likely be relieved to have a real estate attorney on your side.