Although having the assistance of a licensed, professional real estate broker can lessen some of the risks, engaging a real estate attorney is often, if not always, a prudent act.
Why Do I Need a Bucks County Real Estate Lawyer?
Whether you are purchasing or selling property, a real estate attorney can provide valuable services. The time to engage a real estate attorney is before the signing of the sales agreement. It is the sales agreement that governs the purchase or the sale. Many people believe that the attorney’s role in most important at the closing or settlement.
Although that part of the sale is important, the critical part is to assure that the sales agreement adequately protects the seller or the buyer.
A licensed, professional real estate broker provides valuable advice to buyers and sellers on matters of price and in organizing inspections, real estate agents are not trained in contract drafting or contract law, or in matters of title.
Here are some issues a real estate attorney can help you answer.
- What if your prospective new home has an illegal in-law unit with an existing tenant? You want to evict that tenant and rent the place to a friend. Only a Bucks County real estate attorney can tell you with any certainty if that plan will work.
- What if you want to rent your home for a year before buying it?
- What if you have special needs not addressed in form agreement?
According to real estate agent Bob Kelly, writing on Realtor.com, buyers and sellers should answer a series of questions when wondering if they need a real estate lawyer.
- Are you an out of town buyer?
- Are you buying a property that is a short sale or bank owned, or that is part of an estate sale?
- Are you buying a commercial property?
- Are you buying a property that could potentially have some structural issues?
- Are you buying a property in a problematic area such as a flood zone or areas with adverse conditions (tornado prone, radon, toxicity levels, etc.)?
- Do you have special needs that have to be addressed that are not addressed in form agreements?
- Are you selling a property that is in some state of distress?
- Are you the heir or executor of a property whose owner is now deceased?
- Are you selling a house with a non-cooperative partner?
- Do you have that feeling that something could go wrong based on knowledge you have about the property?
- Do you have judgments or liens in your background?
A “yes” answer to any of these questions according to Bob Kelly indicates that hiring a real estate attorney is the right choice.
For people selling a property, a Bucks County real estate attorney can:
- Review and prepare the purchase and sale agreement and help negotiate its terms.
- Prepare, if necessary, a power of attorney.
- Address issues of title.
- Draft special clauses
- Attend the closing and review any documents the seller needs to sign.
For people buying a property, a Bucks County real estate attorney can:
- Draft or help the buyers understand the purchase contract.
- Identify any defects in the title and assist in either solving the title problem or terminating the purchase contract without forfeiting the down payment.
- Review any covenants, liens, easements or other judgements recorded against the property.
- Clarify the terms of the mortgage and work with the bank to help modify them.
- Examine the adjustments – this includes taxes owed/paid – prior to the closing.
- Attend the closing and review any papers the buyer would need to sign.
- Arrange for title insurance to protect the buyer from losses resulting from defects to the title.
Buying or selling a house is a complex process, and a good real estate agent should be well-versed in all the steps of the process. But if you’re searching for a Bucks County real estate attorney, consider the law firm of Benner and Wild.
Real estate law has been one of the cornerstones of our practice since we began our firm 20 years ago. Our attorneys regularly represent clients seeking approvals for residential, commercial and industrial land development projects throughout the region.
We can handle real estate transactions, land use, subdivision and zoning issues, tax assessment appeals, and landlord/tenant disputes.
Whether you’re buying your first home or selling a property you’ve owned for 30 years, Benner and Wild can help you with this critical transaction