Q&A #2 with Ali Alavi, Esquire
1. When is it necessary to hire a real estate attorney?
You should contemplate hiring a real estate attorney as early in the process as possible. Remember that when you are asked to sign an "Offer to Purchase Real Estate", that is a legal and binding contract and contains contingencies and language that should be reviewed before signing. An attorney that focuses his/her practice on real estate will be able to assist with advising you properly to avoid any pitfalls or traps that could potentially cost you thousands of dollars.
2. How does a real estate attorney protect me as a buyer?
A real estate attorney will protect you is many different ways. The attorney can review the contract and ensure that the terms and dates are reasonable and realistic. The attorney can conduct a cursory review of the title to ensure that there are not major issues with the property that you are about to purchase. Once the Offer to Purchase has been signed and you are moving forward, the attorney can negotiate the terms of your Purchase and Sale Agreement to limit your liabilities and secure as many representations about the property as possible to give you the peace of mind you need. Attorneys that focus on real estate will commonly track your financing date, review the lender's commitment letter with you, and ensure that your deposit is safeguarded at all times. A real estate attorney will effective guide you and lead you through the entire process and ensure that you are getting a clean and marketing title to your home and wont inherit anyone else's problems.
3. How does a real estate attorney protect me as a seller?
The real estate attorney that you engage to represent you on your sale should review your offer before you sign it. Once the Offer to Purchase is signed by you, there is not going back! A seller's attorney will advise you on the strength or weakness of your offer, draft the Purchase and Sale Agreement, and negotiate its terms on your behalf. The seller's attorney will commonly ask for proof of the Buyer's financing to ensure that the Buyer's financing is on solid ground and the likelihood of the transaction closing successfully is high. The counsel for the seller will commonly get involved to ensure a smooth and expedited resolution of title issues and will advise and guide you through the closing process to ensure a successful closure.