These days many real estate transactions go quickly, with real estate agents simply filling in spaces on a standard sales contract when making an offer. Buyers or sellers may be tempted to forgo an attorney, under the assumption that the rest of the transaction will go smoothly. People may mistakenly believe that working with a real estate agent is sufficient to complete the purchase. However, relying on an agent alone is not the best move. Legal questions can arise at any time and your agent may not have the correct answers, especially if the purchase is atypical in any way. For instance, some transactions are more complex and may involve multiple parties, unusual contract terms, specific probate laws, extra requirements due to inspections, etc. In most instances, a qualified real estate attorney is the best way to protect your interests and your investment.
When to consult a real estate attorney
A real estate attorney should be consulted when there is any question about the complexity of the transaction. The following are examples of specific times that a buyer or seller should have an experienced attorney on their side.
- The property is part of an estate sale
- The property is in some state of distress
- It is a commercial property
- The sale is part of a divorce settlement
- It is an investment property (especially when tenants are involved)
- The property is in foreclosure
- The property is cooperative housing, also known as a “co-op”
- If the property is in a flood zone or other problematic area
- If there are any unusual arrangements between the buyer and seller
- You’re buying or selling a property “by owner”
The above scenarios are still not a complete list of the possible situations in which a real estate attorney should be consulted. The fact is, a real estate transaction can present legal issues at any point along the way, even in those that seem very straightforward.
What a real estate attorney will do
The most important reason to work with an attorney when buying or selling a home is to protect your interests throughout a major financial transaction. At Churchill, Quinn, Hamilton & Van Donselaar, Ltd, our experienced attorneys will guide you through the process, from the initial sales contract to the closing and beyond if necessary. We will assist with valuable contract negotiations (including important contingency clauses), negotiate home inspection repairs, help to clear up any issues with the title, assist at the closing to ensure the accuracy of all documents and provide representation if there are any unresolved compliance issues. And more importantly, we provide personalized, hands-on service, with an actual attorney, not just an assistant, involved in every step of the process. Contact us at 847-223-1500 as early in the process as possible for the best legal representation when buying or selling a home.