You can make your real estate investment contractually sound if you hire a real estate attorney, whether you are a landlord, first-time home buyer, or tenant entering into a renter or leasing agreement. Your real estate attorney can best protect your interests by understanding landlord and tenants’ rights, identifying and preserving investment value, creating income, and conforming to your situation to meet legal standards. Some states, such as New York and Massachusetts, require a real estate attorney to perform title searches, prepare home purchase documents, and close deal transactions. Even if your state does not have a real estate attorney requirement, hiring one can help you avoid costly mistakes because every state has its own set of real estate laws.
Under what circumstances would you need to hire a real estate attorney?
- When building or purchasing real estate for your business
- Needing to resolve landlord or tenant issues
- Selling or buying commercial property with existing tenants
- Understanding sales contracts or other written agreements
- A project in development is up against a title, land, or environmental issue
- You want assistance to negotiate a better deal
- You need help with foreclosure proceedings
- Purchasing a property with physical issues, in a hazard-prone area, or with asbestos, lead, or environmental toxins
- Understanding the liabilities a real estate property or transaction may present
- Buying in another state or country where you are unsure of the local laws
- Buying a bank-owned property or other property with liens against it
- Ensuring a property’s title is clean and clear to a lender
- Ensuring exclusive representation during the sale or purchase of a home
- Buying a selling a home with major issues like structural damage
- You have significant financial issues and are selling a property that has liens on it
- Selling a home that is central to a divorce settlement
- Assessing a sale price for current market values
A real estate attorney can help you understand and draft legal documents or contracts such as:
- Title documents
- Eviction notices
- Title and deed transfer documents
- Mortgage contracts and documents
- Sales contract or purchase agreements
In addition to document preparation, your real estate attorney can help you better understand existing documents and their liabilities, obligations, and other terms of a contract that are present. Other legal services include but are not limited to:
- Due diligence and reviews
- Building and development project assistance
- Foreclosure proceedings
- General and real estate litigation and disputes
- Comprehensive title and lien searches
- Deed transfers
- Zoning issue resolution
- Coordination among title agents, surveyors, lenders, and other parties in the transaction
More often than not, successful negotiations involving real estate and its associated issues can benefit from the insights and practices of a real estate attorney. Many attorneys will charge a flat fee for residential real estate transactions, but most commercial transactions require an hourly rate. Real estate attorneys often enter into an engagement agreement for their services, outlining precisely the tasks they will perform and how they structure their fee rate.
Why You Should Work with a Real Estate Attorney?
Hiring a real estate attorney before entering into negotiations is better than hiring one to perform damage control. In some states, you will have no option but to retain their services for transaction purposes. Complex situations like litigation and disputes that arise from a real estate transaction or other more complex real estate arrangements will come to faster and more comprehensive solutions with a competent real estate attorney representing your interests. In those states that do not require a real estate attorney, it is still advisable to retain a trained attorney as your best defense to guide you through contracts, legal issues, or disputes. Purchasing property as an investment vehicle or as a home usually involves significant sums of money. Make sure your best interests are well protected with proper legal services. We hope you found this article helpful. Contact our Chicago area office at 630-568-6656 to discuss how we can help you with any legal questions you may have.