Except in a few states, it is not mandatory to hire a real estate lawyer when purchasing a home. Normally, both the buyer and seller are represented by their own real estate agents, and it is the agent’s responsibility to negotiate with the other party, take care of contracts and paperwork, and schedule showings, inspections, and closing dates.
Although titles, offers, and purchase contracts are legal documents, experienced real estate agents are familiar with these documents and can answer questions about them. And many real estate agents will feel comfortable giving advise on legal issues as well, if and when they arise. So when is the right time to hire a real estate lawyer and what are the advantages and disadvantages to hiring one?
Pros of Hiring a Real Estate Lawyer
Perhaps the biggest advantage to hiring a real estate lawyer when buying a home is that you are paying someone to represent you. While it is your realtor’s job to represent you and not the seller, keep in mind that the seller will ultimately pay your realtor’s commission. Since your realtor won’t get paid unless the sale goes through, he may ill-advise you just to seal the deal. An agent may push you to make a higher offer in order to beef up their commission.
The other main advantage to hiring a real estate lawyer is that you can rest easy during an often stressful time. Your lawyer will review your contract, title, inspection papers, mortgage, and any other paperwork specific to your house purchase. In addition, you will already have a lawyer to council and represent you if any legal issues arise during the process.
Sometimes special circumstances warrant hiring a real estate lawyer to represent you when buying a home. For example, if you have no realtor and are representing yourself, if your realtor is very inexperienced, or in the unusual circumstance that your realtor is dually representing the seller, you may wish to hire a real estate lawyer so you have an industry expert on your side.
Disadvantages of Hiring a Real Estate Lawyer
There aren’t many cons to having a real estate lawyer when buying a house, aside from the obvious downside that you’ll have to pay this person during a time when you may be financially taxed. You might find it unnecessary to pay a lawyer if you already have a realtor representing you, but since the buyer doesn’t usually pay their realtor’s fees, some homebuyers feel that it’s worth paying a lawyer to represent them as well. Will you hire a real estate lawyer to oversee your home purchase?