A real estate attorney is responsible for the legal transfer of property from the seller to the buyer. The exact duties depend on if they are representing the buyer, the seller, or the lender.
Regardless, attorneys specializing in real estate law handle tasks such as preparing and reviewing documents, making sure the title is clear, and facilitating the transfer of funds.
What does a real estate attorney do?
A real estate attorney ensures that the sales agreement protects your interests, whether you are the seller or buyer. Most states don’t require that you have a real estate attorney present at closing. But, there are numerous reasons why having one benefits you. Buying and selling real estate is complicated, and if a deal goes sour, a real estate attorney is there to get it back on track without fallout.
A seller can be sued for failing to disclose certain information about a property. A real estate attorney understands the law and disclosure and can stop this from ever happening. A real estate attorney acts as an advocate when negotiating and helps the entire transaction go smoother.
Real estate attorneys perform the following for sellers:
- Reviewing and negotiating terms of contracts
- It helps to ensure the seller is paying the appropriate commission to the real estate broker
- Obtaining all needed documents, the seller needs to clear the title
- Preparing the deed and other transfer documents
- Deciding the time and location of the closing
Real estate attorneys help home buyers understand the documents and closing process so that buying a house goes smoothly. The seller and lender will have their own lawyers, which means the buyer will want to hire a real estate attorney to represent their best interests without bias.
Real estate attorneys perform the following for buyers:
- Inspects properties
- Makes judgments on properties
- Finding remedies for property-related issues (zoning issues, environmental terms, and conditions)
- Conducting title searches
- Reviewing title documents
- Preparing sales and purchase agreements
Real estate attorneys handle even more complicated issues. For example, homeowners association (HOA) problems may arise if you buy a townhouse or condominium. When you and the HOA board can’t agree to terms for repairs or home additions, you can hire an experienced real estate attorney to mediate, negotiate, and litigate if needed.
How much does a real estate attorney cost?
The amount you would pay a real estate attorney depends on the services they provide and who is responsible for the closing costs. If your mortgage lender requires an attorney at closing, the cost depends on how your contract was negotiated.
The cost of a real estate attorney varies, but there are a couple of common ways they decide on the price you pay.
Some attorneys charge using a fixed hourly rate. It can range from $150-$350 per hour. Typically the price is based on the lawyer’s experience and your location. It is good policy to ask about pricing up front, so that you’re not surprised by fees, later.
Fixed rates for specific services are also a common way to charge for real estate law services. For example, a flat fee of $500-$1500 for conducting a home closing is standard. The price often reflects the sale price for the property in question.
The Right of the Buyer or the Seller
Whether you’re a buyer or seller, a real estate attorney benefits you and your interests. The primary objectives and purposes are different, but the outcome is the same – ensuring the legal transfer for property goes as well as possible.
Real estate is a significant investment, and the process gets overwhelming. Attorney Carlos M. Amor will help protect the rights of the buyer or seller by examining and evaluating documentation, explaining the terms of the mortgage, and providing experienced legal advice. When you have the right advocate on your side, you will also have peace of mind.