Why do I need a real estate lawyer?

The main reason you want a real estate lawyer is to have a legal expert looking out for your interests.

Your real estate lawyer should review any Offer to Purchase and Agreement for Sale and alert you to any points of concern so you have the opportunity to make changes to the agreement before signing.  Offers to Purchase and Agreements for Sale are very important documents as they set out everyone’s rights and obligations and what needs to happen before the deal closes.

It is especially important to have a real estate lawyer go over an Offer to Purchase and Agreement for Sale when it relates to a new home being purchased from a builder.  Such agreements are often lengthy and contain complicated provisions which may be contrary to your interests.

Once you have an Agreement for Sale, your real estate lawyer will first search title and do a property tax search.  If you are a seller, your lawyer will also prepare the necessary transfer documents.  If you are purchaser who is getting financing, your lawyer will prepare the mortgage documents, make sure certain requirements of your mortgage are met, review the terms of your mortgage with you, and answer any questions you have about your rights and obligations under the mortgage.

When closing your deal, a real estate lawyer is important for dealing with transfer documents and sale proceeds.  Transfer documents authorize a person to change the name or names on title.  If you are a seller, you will not want the purchaser to be able to use these documents without some assurance that you will receive the sale proceeds.  If you are a purchaser, you will not want a seller to have the sale proceeds without some assurance that title will properly be transferred to you.

Real estate lawyers use trust conditions and undertakings to protect their clients.  Typically, the seller’s lawyer uses trust conditions when providing transfer documents to the purchaser’s lawyer.  One aspect of these trust conditions is that the purchaser’s lawyer may not use the transfer documents unless everything to secure financing has been done or the purchaser has provided the lawyer with the necessary funds to complete the deal.  The seller’s lawyer will often include his or her undertaking to pay property taxes out of the sale proceeds, discharge an existing mortgage from title, and return any money if the transfer of title does not occur.  In these ways, real estate lawyers are able to protect their clients and smoothly facilitate the closing of a real estate deal.

For most people, the purchase of a home is one of the largest financial transactions they will ever make. A real estate lawyer will help ensure that this transaction is done correctly and that your rights as a purchaser or seller will be taken care of.