A real estate attorney can make complex deals, such as a short sale or foreclosure, go smoothly.
- A real estate attorney advises buyers, sellers, and lenders in real estate transactions.
- Although some states require buyers and sellers to retain legal counsel, most do not.
- You might consider hiring a real estate attorney if your purchase or sale is complex or you want peace of mind.
Real estate attorneys often take elective courses and even serve as interns in real estate law practices. Some choose to be certified in real estate law, but it’s not a requirement.
- Lawyers who represent the interests of buyers or sellers are called real estate attorneys. The job of a real estate attorney is to advise their client in order to ensure the client’s interests are represented in the best possible way.
- Real estate attorneys retained by lenders are called mortgage lawyers or lending attorneys.
- Those who only perform closing duties on a real estate transaction are known as closing attorneys and do not represent buyers or sellers, even if one of them pays for the service provided. In many cases, the closing attorney is also the lender’s mortgage lawyer.
The seller’s real estate attorney:
- Drafts or reviews the real estate contract
- Negotiates contract terms on behalf of the seller
- Gives general advice to the seller regarding the contract and sale
- Resolves title issues on behalf of the seller
- Drafts or reviews the deed
- Resolves transaction disputes
The buyer’s real estate attorney:
- Conducts a title search to ensure the seller’s title is clear
- Prepares a purchase contract on behalf of the buyer
- Reviews the mortgage contract and advises the buyer
- Resolves problems or disputes regarding the deed
- Obtains title insurance
- Writes amendments to a standard contract utilized by realtors
The lender’s mortgage lawyer/closing attorney:
- Often serves as closing attorney but does not represent the buyer or the seller
- Draws up a mortgage contract and sets the terms of the mortgage
- Represents the lender in the event the buyer defaults or ends up in foreclosure
- If serving as closing attorney, prepares and presents closing documents for signing including:
- Truth-in-lending statement
- Bill of sale
- Loan application
“Insider Insights and Expert Advice on Real Estate Law: A Candid Conversation with Craig Fine”
Attorneys who specialize in the area of real estate law handle essential services associated with transactions in residential, commercial, and other properties. These include preparing and reviewing leases, lending contracts, mortgages, covenants, easements & restrictions, association assessments, buy-sell options, and various types of contracts, as well as advising clients on their rights and liabilities regarding zoning issues, homeowner’s association covenants, and other real estate-related matters.
Attorneys that specialize in real estate oftentimes assist with certain aspects of the financing process. “We review and negotiate the contract of sale and riders presented to us by the seller’s attorney. We also review and negotiate inspection reports to ensure the client is aware of the issues and is appropriately credited for any repairs credit that may have been negotiated stemming from the report which includes generally structural, mechanical, and environmental issues. We also review the deed/transfer forms, review loan documents, if a mortgage is given, and draft a closing statement to ensure all monies are accounted for”- said Craig Fine, Real Estate Attorney.
In addition to these services, real estate attorneys like Craig Fine can assist their clients with foreclosures and eviction matters, title disputes, and other litigations associated with real estate. Some provide advice on tax issues associated with real estate transactions, such as capital gains taxes liabilities as well as real estate tax exemptions and abatements.
In short, a real estate attorney provides a wide range of services to both buyers and sellers of land, homes, co-ops, condos, commercial and residential buildings, and a variety of other scenarios as it pertains to real property. The right attorney will be on your side when it comes to negotiating contracts, reviewing and explaining loan documents, addressing community boards or simply helping with inheritance. A real estate attorney is a valuable asset to both buyers and sellers involved in every real estate transaction and an extremely crucial part of protecting your biggest and more important asset.
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