As a home seller, you may think you are saving money by not hiring an attorney to guide you through the legal aspects of your sale but in actuality, it could end up costing you more not to! Hiring a real estate attorney is an important piece in the home selling process and we are going to explain why.
Document Review & Preparation
In Massachusetts, a Purchase and Sale agreement is a binding contract that determines what the buyers and sellers are expected to do as well as important dates that occur during the transaction. It is the seller’s obligation to provide the Purchase and Sale agreement, and since most home sellers are not attorneys, they are best advised to leave the legal agreements up to a professional. A good real estate attorney will know what to include in the Purchase and Sale agreement to protect the seller’s interests.
Home Inspection Negotiations
Depending on your sale circumstances an attorney may also be needed to prepare the proper repair agreement after the home inspection. You may need more time to move in which case a “use of occupancy” or a “rent back” agreement may need to be negotiated. Having an attorney working for you will represent your best interests during this process.
Your real estate attorney will prepare your deed to transfer to the buyer at closing. Again, this is a legal document that needs to be done right! A closing attorney could prepare this for you but they will charge you. Why not pay someone who is protecting YOUR interests?
Your attorney should also be ordering any mortgage payoffs required and clearing any title issues should they arise. A seller’s attorney will work directly with the closing attorney. Most seller’s attorneys will attend closings for the seller to sign the deed for them with limited power of attorney and then the seller’s funds can be sent via check or wire.
Selling a home for most people is the biggest transaction of one’s life. Spending an additional $1,000 (fees vary) on legal counsel to ensure that your interests and assets are protected is only a tiny fraction of the overall cost and is most certainly well worth it.
Know Their Credentials
The last and most important aspect of hiring an attorney to represent you in your home sale is to make sure you hire a real estate attorney. This is so important yet it is too often overlooked by buyers and sellers. Just like hiring the right agent is imperative to a successful home purchase, hiring the right real estate attorney is essential as well. A real estate attorney is someone who represents buyers and sellers in property transactions every day; they do not go to court and spend their days litigating. A true real estate closing attorney works with home buyers, home sellers and people refinancing their homes to negotiate a proper Purchase and Sales agreement, do title research, or prepare a CD (Closing Disclosure) statement, among many other things.
Knowing that you are protected should any dispute arise during the property purchase and ensuring that your best interests are protected may be an additional fee you’d like to avoid, but the benefits are priceless. The first step to approaching the buying or selling process is to hire an experienced agent.