Buying a home is part of the American Dream for many people. It’s the largest purchase most will make in a lifetime. Because so much money is involved in property transactions, and most buyers are borrowing on a 30-year contract, the process can be complicated and confusing. Those entering the market for the very first time can be overwhelmed and feel like they’re drowning in contracts and paperwork they don’t understand. While getting a realtor is a good first step, and realtors do have some legal education, a real estate attorney may be able to provide extra protection and expertise.
If it’s your first time in the market, you may want to have a highly qualified expert on your side. Unlike regular contract lawyers, real estate attorneys are trained in the nuances particular to property transitions, which requires extra education, training, and specialization. You should choose one who is familiar with the area the potential property is in, as they will be the most knowledgeable as to what’s appropriate and normal and what’s not in your purchase contract.
Real estate attorneys aren’t usually paid in the same way realtors are. Realtors are paid a percentage of the value of the property upon closure, which means that it’s in their best interest for the transaction to go through no matter what and it’s better for them if your home costs more. On the other hand, your lawyer will be paid a set fee, usually $800 or $1,500, which means their only priority is making sure you get a fair shake. The fee is usually negotiated beforehand, which means you know what kind of financial commitment you’re making.
Your lawyer will make sure that the title to your home is clear, which means there are no claims or liens on it. You want to own the home you buy, so this is really important. If there’s an issue with the title, it could affect your ability to use the property. He or she can also go over the terms of your mortgage with your bank and, if necessary, adjust it so you’re getting a better deal.
Often, first time homebuyers are in the market for a really good, sometimes risky, deal. If the property you’re hoping to make your dream home is in foreclosure or bank owned, has structural problems, or is in a problem area that may make it prone to flooding, tornadoes, or waste, consider a real estate attorney to help you navigate these transactions, which are often more complicated. In these cases, you’ll want to find someone who has handled cases like yours in the past. It’s your first time, but you certainly don’t want it to be theirs.
Even if your first property purchase is simple and straightforward, it may still be a good idea to get some extra help from someone with more experience. If you’re unsure about the terms or you run into complications, you’ll need a seasoned real estate attorney who can help you navigate the details and nuances of such a long term contract.