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The best reasons to hire a real estate attorney

During your homebuying journey, it’s often helpful to hire a real estate attorney. Depending on your state or county, this may actually be a requirement. Real estate attorneys are helpful for interpreting legal jargon that goes into buying a home. Whether you’re the lender, buyer or seller, they can help keep you well-informed throughout each step.

What does a real estate attorney do?

Real estate attorneys specialize in the purchase and sale of property. A real estate attorney’s job is to prepare and review documents relating to the sale and purchase of the house. These documents might include the mortgage agreement, insurance policies, title transfers and more.

Your real estate attorney’s job in reviewing these documents is to make sure nothing is omitted or problematic before you officially sign any agreements. They assist with back-and-forth negotiations and will remain on your side until officially closing on your home. If your state or country requires a real estate attorney during closing, they may be there to solely represent the lender. In this case, you still might want to higher one for yourself as a buyer or seller.  

What does a real estate attorney do for a buyer?

There are many things a real estate attorney does for the buyer throughout the homebuying journey. They can work with you from the beginning of the process until closing, or you can hire them for one step of the process.

Here are some examples of what a real estate attorney can do for you:

  • Help draft documents.
  • Review the brokerage contract.
  • Attend closing to make sure everything is correct and in the best legal interests of the buyer.
  • Interpret legal jargon.
  • Help move things along.
  • Negotiate with the seller and their attorney (if they have one).
  • Help communicate and resolve any issues that may come up along the way.

How does a real estate attorney help sellers?

A real estate attorney can also help if you’re selling a home. For example, they can:

  • Help draft documents.
  • Review the brokerage contract.
  • If any liens come up on your property, your lawyer can help you investigate and get things sorted.
  • Negotiate inspection repairs with buyer.
  • Navigate review of closing documents.
  • Negotiate with the buyer and their attorney (if they have one).
  • Help communicate and resolve any issues that may come up along the way.

How much does a real estate attorney cost?

The price of a real estate attorney will vary depending on who you use and how long you use them for. Some lawyers charge an hourly fee, while others may charge a flat rate. It’s important to determine what type of services are included in the fees. Some questions you may want to ask are:

  • Do they only assist with closing?
  • Are they there for questions and document review throughout the entire homebuying journey?

If your lender requires an attorney present at closing, you may be able to negotiate between the buyer and seller who is responsible for covering these costs. The hourly rate for a real estate attorney is usually anywhere between $150-300. Remember, it could be higher or lower depending where you live and how experienced the attorney is.

What to consider when hiring a real estate attorney

It’s important to consider what type of help you’re looking for and how much you’re willing to spend. Investing in a real estate attorney could be well worth the thousands of dollars they may save you in, say, home repairs you would have otherwise paid if you didn’t negotiate the right deal on your own. You may also want to consider whether your homebuying or selling process may be complicated. If there are any contractual issues or complications with your particular situation, an attorney can help streamline the process.

Having a real estate attorney present during the homebuying process can provide you with peace of mind. They are there to keep your best interests in mind, resolve any issues that come up and make sure the agreement is carried out properly. If you do hire a real estate attorney, it could save you from headaches along the way. 

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