real estate attorney

Real Estate Attorney | All Important Things You Need To Know

A skilled real estate attorney can be a knowledgeable guide to help you with your legal transactions, documentation, and insurance if you're a first-time home buyer, or looking for your second or third house in this complicated real estate market.

December 31, 2021

The duty of a real estate attorney is to guarantee that property is legally transferred from seller to buyer. These lawyers are in charge of document preparation and review, as well as ensuring that the title is clear and facilitating the transfer of cash.

The particular responsibilities of a real estate lawyer may differ based on whether you, the seller, or the lender engage them, as well as what your state laws demand and what you need to make your property purchase go successfully.

What is an attorney in fact?

An attorney-in-fact is someone that is authorized to act on behalf of another person, usually in the course of an official transaction or business.

What does a real estate attorney do?

real estate attorney

Transactions involving “real property” are handled by real estate attorneys. Real property and real estate are two terms that are used interchangeably to describe the land and permanent constructions that are set in place.

For the majority of home buyers, purchasing real estate does not need to go to court for the majority of house buyers. A real estate lawyer, on the other hand, may draft or review all of the documents relating to your house purchase, including the contract, any extra agreements signed with the seller, documentation from your lender, and title and transfer documents. If you hire a real estate lawyer, he or she may also be present at the closing, either remotely or physically.

Additional aspects of the house purchase, such as title searches and title insurance, are sometimes handled by real estate attorneys to guarantee that there are no outstanding claims or liens against the property. They may also function as a third party to facilitate the transaction by providing evidence of the cash transfer to the seller and your lender.

Of course, if a problem arises that might cause the transaction to be delayed, a real estate attorney can assist.

Read more: Real Estate Lawyer: All Important Things You Need To Know 

Should you hire a real estate attorney?

real estate attorney

Your decision to engage a real estate attorney will most certainly be influenced by where you want to buy property in the United States. States differ in their definitions of “practice of law,” thus what a real estate agent or notary can handle in one state may require an attorney in another.

  • In certain places, such as Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia, state law mandates that you hire a real estate attorney to handle certain aspects of the transaction.
  • In several places, such as Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota, state law mandates that a title opinion be provided by an attorney. An opinion like this indicates that a lawyer has gone over the title abstractor examination and found no problems with the real estate transaction.
  • Even though real estate attorneys aren’t needed in your state, you might want to hire one if you’re dealing with a more complicated acquisition, such as a short sale, or if there’s a problem, such as an adjacent structure crossing the property line.

Your mortgage lender may necessitate the involvement of a real estate attorney in specific instances. Because the lawyer isn’t representing you as a buyer, you may be exempt from paying legal costs.

If your state requires a closing attorney, keep in mind that, despite the fact that you hired and paid for them, they are regarded as a neutral party whose only goal is to finish the deal.

Tip: Only if you engage a real estate attorney as your advocate will they represent your interests. If the attorney is representing your lender or as a closing attorney (in which case they are representing everyone’s interest in concluding the deal), you may choose to engage your counsel.

How much does a real estate attorney cost?

real estate attorney

The cost of a real estate attorney varies based on the services you want and how they choose to bill you. The attorney may charge a fixed fee or an hourly fee for a certain set of services (such as analyzing the title abstract and issuing a title opinion).

Attorney expenses for real estate transactions are usually included in the closing costs. Because it isn’t a defined cost, it will appear on your loan estimate sheet under “services you may shop for.” Depending on the attorney you pick and your legal needs, the estimate provided in the loan estimate may fluctuate.

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If you need a real estate attorney, contact friends and family who have recently acquired properties for recommendations. If you live in a state where having a lawyer is recommended or needed, your real estate agent can help you find one. To confirm that your attorney’s qualifications are in good standing, check with your state’s bar organization. (State bar association websites can also assist you in locating real estate attorneys in your area.)

To gain and strengthen your knowledge and skills in the real estate field, let’s take our free Real Estate practice exam free to stay firm in this market.