Real Estate Attorneys: How Can They Help You?
Real estate attorneys specialize in real estate law, which relates to buying and selling property. While real estate attorneys commonly work with larger businesses, there are also instances where residents need their services.
In many states, you are required to have a real estate agency present when you are closing on a home. Even if it is not required, you are strongly encouraged to bring an attorney to ensure the sale is legitimate and all the proper paperwork is filed. An attorney also advises you during the sale and helps with any negotiations.
Real estate attorneys are necessary during property disputes. In these instances, your lawyer represents your interests while bargaining with the opposing party. If you are unable to reach an agreement, your lawyer takes your case before a judge and pleads your case. More information about what a real estate attorney can do for you and how to hire one is noted below.
Reviewing Sales Transactions
In most instances, a real estate attorney is hired to oversee sales transactions. During this process, your lawyer goes over all the papers relating to the transaction. You can also request advice from the attorney. Real estate attorneys are not the same as real estate agents. Both help you determine the value of the house, but they use different methods.
Real estate agents consider practical factors about the house, such as where it is located and the number of rooms. They also assess whether the home needs repairs. An attorney only considers potential legal issues, including title or environmental issues. This is the reason so many states require an attorney to be present.
There are many situations where a house appears to be in perfect condition, but the property is damaged or otherwise unusable. For example, the foundation may be weakening under a house due to an environmental issue. The house appears to be fine, but over the next few years, will start to deteriorate. An attorney performs research and makes sure the seller is disclosing all the relevant information to the buyer.
Another way real estate lawyers can help is during negotiations. Real estate attorneys have a greater understanding of property law. They can predict whether a property is expected to increase or decrease in value based on market trends. A skilled attorney uses this research to lower costs. If any repairs are necessary on the property, your attorney can also negotiate for the seller to cover the costs of repairs.
In some states, you need permission before you make significant changes to your property. These issues are handled on a case-by-case basis. This process often involves filing complicated paperwork, in addition to bargaining with the state. An attorney knows how to handle the paperwork, and what to expect during negotiations. They may also know alternative ways to get the desired changes without needing state permission.
Drawing up Legal Documents
Another reason to hire a real estate attorney is to prepare legal documents. Property sales involves complex paperwork. If you make any mistakes, you must redo the documents, which can slow down a sale. Attorneys help with deed transfers, rental agreements and other financial agreements. Real Estate attorneys can also help write up title and deed documents, or review such documents if they already exist. A real estate attorney can ensure that your property documents are written correctly and are legally valid.
If your house is foreclosed on, you can challenge the foreclosure by hiring an attorney. Before your house is foreclosed on, your attorney meets with your lender and tries to renegotiate for a better deal. This may involve reducing how much you owe in the settlement agreement, or working out a new payment plan to avoid foreclosure. If you suspect your property is being illegally foreclosed on, you can hire an attorney to stop the process entirely.
Real Estate Disputes
There are several types of real estate disputes which are only settled in the courtroom. A common dispute is breach of contracts. During a breach of contract, either the buyer or seller fails to fulfill one of their promises, such as making a repair before selling their property. Another dispute is real estate fraud, where the seller attempts to hide damage or otherwise make false claims about their property. Boundary disputes involve two parties both making claims over owning a portion of property. If you and another party own property and cannot agree on changes, you can hire an attorney to resolve the dispute.
Hiring a Real Estate Attorney
Real estate attorneys either charge an hourly fee or a flat rate for their services. The cost greatly varies depending on what firm you hire. Most firms charge between $150 and $300 per hour, or a flat fee ranging from $500 to $1,500.
If you are having trouble finding a real estate attorney in your area, you can search for qualified lawyer through the American Bar Association. While this provides a listing of lawyers, you must do your own research on the overall quality of the firm. There are also several large real estate firms you can hire to represent you.
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP is a respected real estate firm, with offices in both the United States and Europe. While the firm provides many real estate services, it is best known for handling real estate disputes. Greenberg Traurig is another large real estate firm, with over 400 attorneys. The firm prides itself on high quality research, ensuring you are treated fairly during the sale and getting a good deal on your transaction.DLA Piper is a general law firm, but they have a dedicated team of real estate attorneys. The team is divided into multiple areas, including estate litigation, financing, development and asset management. The firm also produces the Real Estate Gazette, which has articles on landmark cases and changes to real estate law.
LegalShield.com is a great option when looking for Real Estate legal assistance. LegalShield knows that any real estate purchase is an important investment in one's future, and nothing can be left to chance. They offer a package deal with pricing starting as low as $24.95 a month for access to their qualified team of legal professionals well versed in real estate law.