Hire a Real Estate Attorney to Avoid These 5 Costly Mistakes

real estate mistakesThe housing market is booming and houses are selling fast these days!  Buying a home is a strategic process, so buyers need to be ready to act quickly to secure their dream home.  But real estate buyers and sellers should not be in such a hurry that they lose sight of important details in the process.  One way to avoid costly mistakes along the way is to hire an experienced real estate attorney.  Here are some issues that can turn into major problems without proper attention.

Sales Contract is Not Complete

The real estate sales contract is the agreement between the buyer and seller that finalizes the sale.  Once accepted by both parties, it becomes legally binding and neither party can simply change their mind.  Therefore, it is very important to ensure that all information in the contract is accurate and acceptable.  Your attorney can help negotiate the offer, verify contingencies for the sale of another property or acceptable home inspection, confirm that important items such as appliances, window treatments or light fixtures will be left in the home, as well as check for any factual errors throughout the document.

Disclosure Statement Issues 

Sellers of residential properties must make sure that a disclosure statement is completed accurately and honestly.  This important mandatory document discloses the seller’s knowledge of the condition of the property.  This can include defects in the foundation, roof, plumbing or electrical systems, as well as any known infestations or building code violations.  Based on the information on the document, a buyer may want to renegotiate a selling price or even decline an offer completely.  Additionally, a seller may be held legally liable for future issues that were not disclosed on the document, so a legal review can be very important.

Final Walk-Through Issues

Shortly before a real estate closing, buyers should always complete a final walk-through of the property.  The purpose is to ensure that the property is still in its acceptable, agreed-upon condition.  This would be the time to verify that all items listed in the sales contract are present in the house, that all appliances and electrical and heating systems are still working, and that there has been no additional damage to the property.  Your attorney can get involved and help negotiate compensation if any of the contract contingencies are not met or if there is new property damage to repair.

The Title is Not Clear

The title gives a person legal ownership of a property. Before the property can be transferred to a new owner, a title search must be completed to verify current legal ownership and any liens that are attached to the property.  Problems can arise if any liens, such as an old mortgage, judgment or delinquent taxes, still appear on the title.  Likewise, a divorce, trust or probate issue can create questions as to the legal ownership status of the property.  All of these title issues must be cleared up before the property can be legally transferred, so having an experienced attorney review this document is an important part of ensuring a smooth closing process.

Incorrect Closing Documents

One surefire way for a closing to get disrupted is due to errors on the closing documents.  There are a lot of documents that need to be signed in a real estate closing, and each one needs to be inspected to ensure accuracy.  An error in an address, incorrect spelling of a name, inaccurate loan amount, or even missing pages can all cause serious delays in the closing or may lead to legal issues if not corrected at all. Having your attorney review the entire document package prior to the closing can help ensure that any errors are found and corrected before it is too late.

Buying or selling a home is a big responsibility, and should not be taken on alone.  Our team at Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd has decades of experience with real estate transactions and will help to ensure you have a stress-free process, from initial offer through the closing.  Give us a call at 847-223-1500 at the beginning of your home search so we can help at every step along the way!