3 Instances When A Home Buyer Should Hire A Real Estate Attorney

Law Blog

In the process of buying a new home? If so, this is probably an exciting time. You may be busy looking at houses and dreaming about your new home. While a home purchase can be exciting, it can also be complicated. It's not uncommon for issues to arise during the purchase process. In some cases, those issues could cause the transaction to fall through and leave the buyer with a sizable loss of down payment or other costs.

In most cases, a real estate agent can help you avoid many potential issues. However, there are also situations in which it's advisable to hire a real estate attorney. They can offer further protection and make sure your purchase doesn't expose you to risk. Below are three situations in which it makes sense to hire a real estate attorney:

Buying a home that's for sale by owner. Many sellers opt to save money on broker commissions by selling without a real estate agent. With the rise of real estate websites, it's possible for sellers to get wide exposure to potential buyers even if they don't have an agent or broker. However, that decision could also expose the buyer to risk.

Agents often use certified documents like purchase agreements to protect both parties. These documents contain language on what happens if the deal falls through, how the deposit is handled, and what happens if issues are found in the inspection. A seller who isn't using an agent may not have these kinds of documents. That can leave the buyer exposed if the deal falls apart. An attorney can help you protect yourself and draft documents that covers all contingencies.

Buying a home with alterations or with plans to make alterations. Are you buying a home that has had a major addition or renovation? Or do you have plans for a major project after the purchase? If so, you may want to hire an attorney. Most municipalities have codes that address additions, renovations, and other major home projects. You'll want to make sure that everything is up to code or that your plans are allowed under your area's code. If the previous owner made renovations that aren't up to code, you could be held liable as the new owner. An attorney can help you address these issues before the sale goes through.

Buying a home with substantial damage or neglect. Many buyers target homes that haven't been carefully maintained, especially as investment opportunities. Maybe you're looking at a home that has significant damage and have an eye on fixing up the home after the purchase is complete. In this case, a standard purchase agreement may not be sufficient. You may want to draft your own to detail exactly what level of damage is and is not acceptable during the inspection. An attorney can draft a custom purchase agreement that states what level of damage is acceptable and what happens to the deposit if excessive damage is found.

Don't expose yourself to too much risk during your home search. Contact a real estate attorney today to guide you through the buying process.


8 January 2019