Buying or selling real estate is oftentimes the largest financial transaction in the lives of most Americans. Needless to say, having a team of real estate professionals including a real estate agent, mortgage broker (if applicable), & a real estate attorney is extremely important. With this said, many buyers and sellers often come back to the same question: “Do I need a real estate attorney?”
What does a real estate attorney do?
A real estate attorney specializes in “real property” transactions. For clarification, “real property” & “real estate” are considered the same when describing a real estate attorney’s responsibilities. Therefore, “real property” may refer to both land and structures. An important responsibility of a real estate attorney is to make sure that the property is legally transferred from the seller to the buyer. Some key items that a real estate attorney will review include but are not limited to checking and revising purchase contracts, reviewing or drafting addendums to contracts, conducting title searches, and even arranging for title insurance. In addition, they may also hold escrow and provide documentation of receipt for any money transfers for the transaction.
State requirements for hiring a real estate attorney
A significant factor in the decision to hire a real estate attorney will depend on your location and any specific laws and requirements for your particular state. In fact, some states require that you retain the services of a lawyer during the purchase of real estate. These include the following states:
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
Furthermore, the law in some states require that a real estate attorney provides a title opinion. This opinion shows that they believe there isn’t anything preventing the transaction’s success. These states are as follows:
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
In closing, we recommend that all clients hire a real estate attorney to represent them in any real estate transaction. For more information on key points of a home purchase contract, feel free to read our previous article titled: “Key Aspects of a home purchase contract”. Furthermore, most real estate brokerages now charge their clients a “processing fee” or an “administrative fee”. These common fees can add up to anywhere between $400 – $800, in some cases. At Live South Florida Realty, Inc. we believe that instead of charging these fees to our clients, these funds are better utilized towards the cost of hiring a real estate attorney. Do you have questions about the South Florida real estate market? We can help. Contact Natasha at Live South Florida Realty, Inc. today! Also, feel free to download our free Florida Home Search app for your mobile device.