The process of buying or selling a home can be complex and, at times, overwhelming. Fortunately, if you’re involved in the real estate market, there are lawyers who specialize in this industry who can help. They’re known as real estate attorneys, and they provide legal services to residential and commercial real estate owners, buyers, and sellers. If you’re asking yourself, “Where are the best real estate attorneys near me?” There are nuances you should understand. Before you engage the services of real estate attorneys, you should understand what they do so that you can determine whether it would be beneficial to have one represent you. Here’s everything you need to know about real estate attorneys.
Real Estate Attorney Definition
Real estate law covers all legal issues pertaining to selling and purchasing real property and is crucial for your due diligence process. All items and structures attached to or built on top of land are considered real property. The law can even apply to fixtures and appliances that are attached to the structures. Real estate law will also cover any legal actions related to real estate.
A real estate attorney ensures the legal transfer of property from a seller to a buyer. Real estate attorneys handle tasks like preparing or reviewing documents, ensuring that the title is clear, and facilitating the transfer of funds.
The exact duties of a real estate lawyer will depend on whether you, the seller, or the lender hire them, what your state requires, and what you need to move forward smoothly with your home purchase.
Real estate attorneys can specialize in a variety of aspects of property law. Some concentrate on zoning laws, while others concentrate on tax laws.
Real estate lawyers must be licensed by the state in which they practice since real estate laws vary by state and even municipality. All regulations relating to the relevant property are integral to your real estate lawyer’s knowledge.
What Do Real Estate Attorneys Do?
A real estate attorney handles real property transactions. Real property refers to land and structures that are permanently erected.
Purchasing real estate generally involves no court appearances. As an alternative, a real estate lawyer may prepare or review all the documents related to your home purchase, including the contract, any agreement you have made with the seller, and any documents your lender sends you. An attorney might also attend the closing on your behalf, either virtually or physically.
Real estate attorneys occasionally assist with other sections of the home purchase, such as title searches and title insurance, to ensure no outstanding claims or liens are placed against the property. You may also use them to transfer money to your lender and to the seller, or to facilitate the transaction as a third party.
A real estate lawyer can also assist if a problem could delay the sale.
Do I Need A Real Estate Attorney?
You may need to hire a real estate attorney if your locality, state laws, or the nature of the transaction requires it (and include the cost in your closing costs).
If you decide to hire an attorney or if your state or lender requires you to, there are a few different points during the home buying process where they can help. You can have your real estate agent draft and draft amendments to standard contracts, conduct a title search, or hold a closing.
Some states, including Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia, require you to hire a real estate lawyer to handle certain aspects of the purchase.
A title opinion is required by state law in other states, including Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota. In such an opinion, the lawyer indicates that he or she has reviewed the title abstract or the real estate examination and doesn’t see anything that prevents the transaction.
You may still need a real estate attorney if you’re dealing with a tricky purchase, such as a short sale, or if there’s a neighbor’s structure that crosses the property line.
The mortgage lender may require a real estate lawyer to be part of the transaction. That could mean you won’t have to pay the lawyer’s fee since the lawyer won’t be representing you as the buyer.
You should know that even if you hire and pay for a closing attorney, they are considered neutral parties whose interest is simply to close the transaction.
What Kind Of Legal Fees Can I Expect From A Real Estate Attorney?
Your real estate attorney (or attorneys) will charge you for their services and closing costs. Whether the buyer or seller pays for the closing attorney will depend on how your real estate contract is drafted if your mortgage lender requires an attorney at closing.
If you choose to hire a lawyer in addition to the one required by your lender, you’ll need to pay for any services they provide. Real estate attorney charges will vary, but here are some ranges to give you an idea of what to expect.
The rate per hour can vary drastically depending on where you live and a real estate attorney’s experience. That said, you should check to see the market rate around your locality and see how experienced the real estate attorney is before making a decision. As a general rule of thumb, real estate attorneys can cost between $150 to $400 an hour.
There are flat rates for some of their services. In addition to their fees, real estate attorneys may charge $500 – $2,000 for the closing of a residential property. Their fees may also depend on the price of the house.
Finding Real Estate Attorneys Near Me
Purchasing a home is such a big, important purchase that you want to be sure the professionals you work with understand what they are doing and are skilled at it. Having trouble finding a reliable real estate attorney?
Here are some places to start:
- Find out who your friends and family used and how their experience was if they recently bought or sold a home.
- Consult your state’s Bar association’s website to find lawyers who practice real estate law in your area. Search the American Bar Association’s directory for your state’s website.
- Many online review websites provide information about attorneys in your area, such as their specialties, their fee structures, and any client reviews.
Real estate attorneys are vital for anyone looking to buy or sell property. They can help with everything from negotiating contracts to reviewing title documents. Plus, they can offer peace of mind by making sure the transaction goes smoothly. While you may not need an attorney for every real estate transaction, it’s always a good idea to consult one if you have any questions or concerns.