About 5.8 million houses sold in May 2021. That’s 44.6% up from May of last year! Whether you plan on buying or selling this year, there are many legal variables to consider first.

You don’t have to navigate these legal complexities alone. Instead, consider hiring an experienced real estate lawyer. You can rely on their experience and expertise throughout every step of the process.

What is a real estate attorney, exactly, and what do they do? When should you hire an attorney to help? Keep reading to find out!

After reading this guide, you can hire the best real estate lawyer to help you through your next transaction. Identifying the benefits of having a lawyer at your side will help you make a more informed choice.

Read on to learn everything you need to know before buying or selling a property today!

What is a Real Estate Attorney?

First, let’s answer the question that likely brought you here: what is a real estate attorney?

A real estate lawyer can help guide you through the legal process of buying or selling property. They can negotiate the transaction and handle any disputes that occur.

Some states even require you to have a real estate attorney present during the closing process. Even if you live in a state that doesn’t require one, you might want to consider it. After all, a lawyer will have your best interests in mind every step of the way.

They can prepare and review any legal documents or paperwork in advance. They can also advise you if there are any problems or omissions in the documents. Otherwise, you might not realize there’s a problem until after the fact.

Real estate law is a matter for local and state jurisdictions. Make sure to hire an attorney with experience in the area.

You can rely on their experience and expertise to make more informed decisions before buying or selling property.

Real estate law covers selling, buying, or legal issues related to real property.

Make sure to find a lawyer who specializes in real estate transactions. They’ll understand the proper procedures you’ll need to follow. For example, you might want to ask them about:

  • Zoning
  • Titles
  • Estate planning
  • Deeds
  • Property taxes

These laws can vary by local or state government. Make sure to choose a lawyer licensed to practice in the state where the transaction is taking place.

Why Hire a Lawyer?

Remember, you’re required to hire a lawyer in some states. Your lawyer can help prepare or review documents before a transaction takes place. These documents can include:

  • Purchase agreements
  • Title documents
  • Transfer documents
  • Mortgage documents

They’ll also attend the closing (when money is paid and the title is transferred). They’ll make sure the transfer is legal and binding.

You might want to hire a lawyer to ensure the necessary documents are in order. They can also write insurance policies as needed. Otherwise, you might want to hire them to handle the transfer of funds for the purchase.

If you’re financing the purchase, talk to your real estate attorney about the federal HUD-1 Form. Discuss any related transfer of funds documentation for the lender, too.

Appeal to State or Lender Requirements

If you’re buying a home in certain states, you’re required to retain a real estate attorney. These states include:

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Georgia
  • Massachusetts
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • West Virginia

State law will require you to retain a lawyer for specific parts of the transaction.

Some states require you to have an attorney to provide a title opinion. These states include:

  • Alabama
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota

An opinion shows a lawyer reviewed the title abstract or examination. The document indicates they didn’t see any obstacles to the transaction.

Remember, you still might want to hire an attorney even if the state doesn’t require one. They can help if you’re dealing with a tricker type of purchase. They can also assist if there’s an issue regarding property lines.

Some mortgage lenders also require you to hire an attorney as part of the transaction.

Avoid Contractual Issues

Only 5% of all buyers choose to purchase a home directly from the owner. Before going this route, you might want to hire an attorney. Otherwise, you might encounter contractual issues and disagreements.

For example, you might encounter disputes related to:

  • The chain of title
  • Lot line problems
  • Other contract issues

Consider hiring a real estate lawyer if the purchase involves any out-of-the-ordinary elements. Otherwise, these elements might complicate the purchase contract.

An experienced lawyer will take the complexity of your situation into account. If any contractual issues arise, they’ll know how to respond.

Your attorney can help resolve the problem. For example, they can provide legal representation if a dispute ends up in a courtroom.

Your lawyer will gather information from both parties and try to encourage a resolution. They might hire a surveyor or title company to gather additional evidence, too.

Peace of Mind

You never know when something could go wrong. With that in mind, consider hiring an attorney before there’s an issue. Having a lawyer at your side will ensure your bases are covered.

They can provide peace of mind before a transaction goes awry. They’ll also consider your best interests every step of the way.

How to Find a Real Estate Attorney

To find the best real estate lawyer in town, turn to friends, family members, and neighbors. Start developing a list of referrals. Visit your local bar association website online, too.

Look for a real estate attorney with years of local experience in the industry. Their prior experience will give you peace of mind. They’ll have the expertise and know-how necessary to offer the help you need.

Buy or Sell With Ease: Hire a Real Estate Lawyer Today

Buying or selling property doesn’t have to feel stressful. Instead, consider hiring a real estate lawyer. They’ll protect your best interests through every phase of the process.

With their help, you can complete the transaction without unnecessary hassle.

Need help right away? We’re here for you.

Schedule a consultation today to get started.

Bryan De Bruin

Bryan De Bruin is a Real Estate and Business Law attorney serving Greenville, SC and the surrounding upstate. Bryan is proud to guide clients through the legal process and makes sure that every client understands each phase of their case, so that they are prepared for what happens next.