We’ll be the first to admit that buying or selling a home can be psychologically taxing. If you’ve ever purchased a home, you know that it’s also quite complicated. There are mountains of paperwork filled with unfamiliar legalese, as well as contacts and closing dates and various forms of financing. And yet, it’s still nowhere near as intricate as buying or selling a commercial property.
Having a PA real estate lawyer on your side when conducting a commercial property transaction is not just a favorable convenience. On the contrary, we’d argue that it’s an absolute must. The world of commercial real estate is full of complexities and nuances. There are any number of legal issues you need to be aware of, and which offer a great degree of risk to the buyer or seller who goes about them in the wrong way.
That’s why we’d like to help you understand not only how real estate lawyers in PA work to aid commercial property transactions, but also just how crucial they are for anyone involved in the purchase or sale of a commercial property.
Risks and Pitfalls Are Commonplace in Commercial Real Estate Transactions
It’s certainly understandable that an experienced businessperson would want to avoid attorney fees during a real estate transaction if at all possible. But there’s a reason so many in the industry are fond of saying that a good PA real estate lawyer is an invaluable resource who is, often, well worth the added cost. Consider some of the potential pitfalls of a commercial transaction that can easily lead to legal disputes:
- A contractor who does work on a commercial property but isn’t paid—or, in his or her opinion, hasn’t been paid properly—can place a mechanics lien on the property. If you chose not to pay a contractor because they either didn’t finish a job or didn’t complete it to your specifications, and assuming they place a lien on your property as a result, your building could easily go into foreclosure. This is a very financially dangerous situation that can often be avoided with the help of an experienced PA real estate lawyer.
- There is perhaps no potential pitfall more frustrating for the buyer of a commercial property than a zoning issue that wasn’t initially made entirely clear. You will certainly need the assistance of a lawyer if you plan to have your property rezoned for a specific purpose. But we’ve also seen surprise zoning issues pop up after the transaction of a certain building is complete, sometimes because municipal agencies or even local residents decide they don’t like the idea you have in mind for the future use of the building. Without a PA real estate lawyer on your side, your chances of success in situations like these are slim to none.
- We’ve seen sellers of commercial properties successfully hide all evidence of environmental contamination their business may have caused. Unfortunately for Mother Earth and the businessperson stuck with a commercial property rich in hazardous waste, these issues always make themselves apparent eventually. You could very easily find yourself on the hook for a cleanup operation, most of which are so expensive you will almost certainly find yourself put out of business as a result. A PA real estate lawyer with a trained eye, meanwhile, can help you avoid this entire situation from the start.
If You Hire a Broker, Do You Also Need a PA Real Estate Lawyer?
It’s also worth mentioning that even if you hire a real estate broker—whose job involves finding the right property and negotiating on your behalf—you’ll still need a lawyer. One simply isn’t an appropriate substitute for the other. Unlike brokers, who tend to work solely on commission or fees, a lawyer has no reason to steer you in the direction of one property, or one deal. After all, he or she will be getting paid regardless of whether or not you end up acquiring a property.
The Complexity of a Commercial Real Estate Contract Calls for a Legal Professional
Commercial property contracts are notoriously complex and confusing things. Thankfully, it’s the job of a real estate attorney to stay on top of any changes in the law that may have taken place recently in your part of the country. If you’re buying, for instance, you want to make sure you’re not on the hook for any structural issues that may arise after closing. If you’re selling, you don’t want to offer so many warranties against unknown issues that the seller ends up putting you out of business.
Whether you’re signing it or presenting it, having an experienced PA real estate lawyer go over your contract with the fine-toothed comb of an expert can save you enormous amounts of time and money. A lawyer could very well save your business or your financial well-being. The law office of Benner & Wild is highly experienced in representing buyers and sellers of commercial properties. Whether we’re negotiating or preparing agreements of sale, our attorneys are prepared to protect your best interests all the way to closing. Contact us today, and let us know how we can help.