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Benefits of Working with a Real Estate Attorney When Buying a Home

Buying a home is a significant financial decision, so it’s important to have the proper support system in place. While some buyers might try to tackle a real estate transaction alone, working with an experienced real estate attorney will ensure the legal side of the transaction is done properly, and with your best interests in mind.

This blog post will uncover all that a real estate attorney can help you with – from the beginning of the buying process, until you’re holding the keys in your hands.

Draft and review contracts

In Massachusetts, a contract to purchase or sell real estate must be in writing. The role of a real estate attorney is to explain, in plain English, exactly what you are signing and the legal obligations under the agreement.

The first contract used in a real estate transaction is the offer to purchase and the second is the purchase and sale agreement. There are pre-printed purchase and sale agreement forms, but a real estate attorney will create a contract that is specifically tailored to your transaction and will ensure that your interests are protected.

Some considerations beyond those contained in the pre-printed forms and offer to purchase pertain to the seller’s obligations to maintain the property during the pendency of the transaction. In addition, a customized agreement will address the type of title that the seller must convey, as well as the purchase or sale of a condominium, a new construction property, a multi-family property or a 1031 exchange.

Another benefit to working with a real estate attorney is if you don’t understand a term or part of the process, you can rely on your lawyer to clarify any language and ensure your obligations are properly communicated and your interests are represented and documented along the way.

Negotiate and protect

A real estate attorney will interpret the legal importance of the terms on the offer to purchase and negotiate the rest of the terms following the acceptance of the offer. This ensures that your legal rights under the contract are protected and preserved.

A real estate attorney can also advise as to how to handle a breach of a real estate contract, provide guidance on the next steps to take to preserve your rights, and provide any mediation if needed. Having a real estate attorney who has been with you every step of the way throughout the home buying process will help you feel more secure if any issues arise.

Confirm property advertising

Your real estate attorney will confirm the legal accuracy of the MLS listing and property advertisements. The situation may arise where a property is advertised as a single family home when in reality it’s a condominium. Your real estate attorney will uncover the legal status of a property by reviewing the title and making sure what you’re about to purchase is what was advertised. 

Title search

Mortgage lenders are required to use attorneys to close mortgages. The real estate attorney that is handling the closing on behalf of the lender will conduct a review of the title to the property. Next, the attorney will issue both personal title insurance for you as the buyer and title insurance for the lender. Finally, you will receive the title to your new property.

Determine rules and regulations

Certain properties, such as condominiums, have different sets of rules you will need to adhere to as a unit owner. For example, owners of a condominium are subject to certain restrictions, rules and regulations that govern the use of their units and the building where the unit is located. In addition, unit owners are generally responsible, in proportion with their percentage interest, for the maintenance of the building and any projects or repairs. When purchasing a condominium, it is of the utmost importance for your attorney to conduct their due diligence and review the documents governing the condominium, as well as any accompanying financial documents and meeting minutes.

If you are considering purchasing real estate, be sure to find the right real estate attorney to represent you. They will be there from day one to advise and guide you through the process and will protect you from any legal issues that may arise. Buying real estate can be overwhelming – why go through the legal process alone? If you are currently in or considering the home buying or selling process, contact seasoned real estate attorney Allison L. Orenstein at Ligris + Associates.

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