Why do I need a Real Estate Attorney for my home purchase or sale?
By Ronak Desai, Attorney
Parikh Law Group, Chicago IL
The question “Do I really need a real estate attorney for my home purchase or sale?” comes up very often in our real estate practice. The answer is YES, you should absolutely hire a real estate attorney for the sale or purchase of your home.
The sale or purchase of a home is likely one of the largest transactions in which you will ever be involved in, and for that reason alone, you should do everything you can to ensure your interests are protected. While many people rely on their real estate agent to provide them with guidance throughout the transaction and to explain key aspects of the deal, it is important to keep in mind that your agent cannot provide any legal advice and does not have the specialized knowledge to even do so. Having a real estate attorney on your side will not only ensure that your interests are protected but will provide you with peace of mind before and after closing. When potential clients ask us if they really need a real estate attorney’s assistance with their residential transaction, here are a few of the top answers and reasons we provide:
Real estate attorneys will provide transparent advice and guidance. Real estate attorneys are familiar with local custom and market trends. This familiarity will allow them to advise you on whether a provision of the contract or request for a repair after an inspection of the property, for example, is allowed under the contract or even reasonable given local custom and the current market trends. For example, during the recent interest rate lows, demand for homes exceeded supply. This meant that a potential buyer needed to stand out; and one way of doing so was to waive the appraisal contingency. Previously, waiving the appraisal contingency was unheard of. An attorney that did not have the requisite knowledge of the current market may have prevented the transaction from proceeding to closing.
Although you will pay a small fee to hire an attorney to represent you in your purchase or sale of a home, it is money well spent. A real estate attorney can help you save money and protect your earnest money by asking questions that you may not know to ask. For example, a real estate attorney will ask whether the assessed value of a property has increased – an increase in the assessed value would likely lead to higher real estate taxes. Based on the answer, a real estate attorney will negotiate a higher tax credit. A real estate attorney can also help you save money by ensuring contingencies are met. For instance, a purchaser has the right to terminate a contract if he or she is seeking a loan and the loan is denied, with a full refund of their earnest money. The right to terminate based on loan denial lapses on a certain date. A real estate attorney will diligently track this deadline and various others and ensure an extension request or notice of termination is timely sent and assist you in receiving the prompt return of your earnest money.
An experienced real estate attorney has closed hundreds if not thousands of real estate transactions throughout the years. They have acquired the skills and knowledge through repeated dealings and are positioned to anticipate various issues that could come up during a real estate transaction. For particularly complex transactions, perhaps involving new construction, zoning changes, or future land use, for example, having an attorney who is knowledgeable or able to quickly research and provide you with the legal support and answers you need is critical to ensuring a successful transaction with no surprises in the future.
The Bottom Line
Due to the complexities that come with real estate transactions, having an attorney by your side during each step makes absolute sense for even a residential home purchase or sale. A real estate attorney works for you, represents your needs and will negotiate on your behalf. Your attorney can guide you through the complexities of the transaction and also act as a safeguard to protect you from potential problems or issues which you perhaps cannot see or predict. With legal counsel, you can give yourself the peace of mind that you, your family and your investments are properly protected as you take the next steps towards either owning or selling a property.
The attorneys at Parikh Law Group will work diligently to ensure that your transaction goes smoothly and that all parties achieve a successful end result. To discuss your real estate matter with one of our experienced licensed attorneys, please give us a call at (312)725-3476.