Every state has its real estate laws and regulations that affect how you buy and sell houses. Some states require a lawyer while making real estate transactions. Texas does not require a lawyer, but real estate lawyers are far from obsolete. There are at least three scenarios where you always need a real estate attorney.
Learn when it’s essential to hire the one person who will always be “on your side” in a real estate transaction.
Buying Real Estate
In real estate, if you are the buyer, you are most likely not paying for the services of “your” real estate agent. The seller of the home generally pays the 6% commission. This is usually shared between the 2 real estate agents. So even though your agent represents you, a higher-priced house gives them a higher commission.
All real estate agents are obviously not trying to run up property prices. However, a seller or another agent can persuade them to make decisions that are less in your best interest than a real estate attorney. An attorney is entirely on your side and works only for you. An attorney is not earning a commission from the seller or negotiating a split of the commission with another agent.
Sometimes, a real estate broker may even act as a dual agent. In this case, their loyalties waffle between the buyer and the seller. In these cases, they can serve as the “intermediary” and work out a deal between buyers and sellers that both sides can agree to. As an intermediary, they are not supposed to provide advice or opinion to either party or favor either side. However, reality dictates that many intermediary dual agents are looking to the seller for their financial livelihood.
Closing on Real Estate
Hiring an attorney for closing gives you fresh eyes to review the legal documents. Attorneys are aware of the local laws, tax laws, and real estate laws that some real estate agents may be ignorant of. Attorneys deal daily with the state and local jurisdiction’s laws.
An attorney can prepare or review all of the documents you sign at closing and more fully represent your interests than an agent or title company who may use the same tired template forms for every contract. The attorney is also present at closing to represent your interests in person.
If you live in a house that’s part of a homeowners’ association, the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions will give you guidelines you must follow. CC&R’s are a written list of what you are responsible for as a homeowner in that location. It can include the types of fences you may erect, what kinds of plants or trees you can grow, how you may decorate the exterior during holidays, and much more. If the CC&R’s read like a lengthy novel, you need an attorney to review whether the agreement makes sense and is fair to you as the homeowner before you buy.
The last thing you want as a new homeowner is to buy a hot tub or cut down a tree and then find out that you’ve broken an HOA covenant. You also don’t want to become embroiled in a lawsuit with your neighbors over issues that an attorney could have helped you prevent.
Buying into real estate that is part of an HOA involves a host of possible problems. HOA’s can bring disagreements related to the CC&R’s. You could face future problems with paying your HOA fees, even resulting in an HOA foreclosure. Beware, buyer. Always consult your attorney first.
Joint Purchases of Real Property
Anytime you make a large purchase with another person, you need an attorney to represent your rights. When purchasing real estate jointly, an attorney must carefully word the language of the contract. There are different types of buying agreements involving percentages of ownership, tax issues, survivorship, and more. If you do not adequately prepare your contracts or are not reading the fine print, you could end up in a legal battle with someone.
If you have not included a joint owner with the right of survivorship for your half, they could ostensibly lose the house if you died suddenly. Properly preparing contracts prevents disagreements and loss down the road.
If you are in a disagreement involving real estate, contact us at Jarrett Law. We specialize in property disputes, contracts, deeds, HOA issues, foreclosure, and mortgage modifications. If you have a struggle related to your real estate ownership, we know how to help. From preparing your escrow to settling disputes with HOA’s, house buyer or seller closings to agreements regarding percent ownership or survivorship, we’ve got your covered. Contact us today for a no-cost consultation and find out how we can help.
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