Services of a Real Estate Attorney

When it comes to buying or selling real estate it is possible to quickly become entangled in legal situations which can be very serious. The transactions concerning real estate can be very detailed and convoluted, unless you are able to properly interpret the law as it applies to your situation.

There are laws that cover every aspect of property ownership, the sale and the purchase of property. Ignorance of the law is not going to protect you in the event that the opposing party in a real estate transaction knows more than you do, and takes advantage of it.

For most people, the purchase of a home is the most expensive transaction that they are ever going to negotiate, and it makes good sense to hire a good real estate attorney to assist in that endeavor.

Most people who skip past the hiring of a real estate attorney when they are dealing with real estate transactions, fear the cost of the legal fees that the lawyer will charge. However, the cost of the consequences of making an error in judgment because the buyer or seller is ignorant of the law can turn out to be very much more costly.


For example, it is customary for a buyer of a home to hire a home inspector to go through the home and examine the structure of the house and all of its working parts, to be sure that everything is in working order.

Items such as the heating and air conditioning, the plumbing, the electrical system, the roof and so forth would be some of the major items that need to be in good working order. If the home inspector passes the house as being in good working order in all areas, and the home buyer discovers, much to his chagrin, that after moving in, the heating and air conditioning are not functioning due to a faulty furnace, then there would be grounds for legal recourse so the buyer would be made whole in this financial letdown.

One area that many home buyers fall prey to is a legal review of all fixtures, additions, and other unique items on the property and in regard to the home itself. Your attorney can research that the fence posts, fences, entrance gates, lights and all items on the land itself are positioned properly on the property and are up to code as far as the local statutes are concerned.

Your attorney can review all of the paperwork that is involved in the purchase of the home, the property upon which it rests and all other buildings and fixtures involved. The deed or deeds, and the survey must be looked over to be sure that everything is set to code and that there are no encroachments upon any properties of your neighbors.

It is surprising how in many cases, inappropriate and inaccurate improvements are made upon properties and are just passed from buyer to buyer and it never gets corrected. If your attorney sees such a thing happening, he or she will alert you to the fact so that the situation can be corrected and amended before you sign your name on the bottom line.

If you don’t do this, and if, for example, you go to sell your property later, the next buyer or his or her lawyer might discover it which could very well then cost you some serious money to correct the situation. So the lesson here is that hire a good real estate attorney to uncover these things so that someone else has to pay for them other than you.

Zoning can become an issue, especially if the area nearby to your home becomes rezoned down the road in the future in such a way that if makes your home less desirable as a place to live, or even downright dangerous. For example when you first purchase the house, a zoning search does not turn up anything unusual since your land, and most of the land around you is zoned as residential.

However, if your real estate attorney has lived and practiced law in the community for quite a while, he may know the people quite well who run the community. Your attorney might have some good advice because he knows the wishes of the town fathers to rezone land near to yours as a commercial district.

The warning signs in this type of situation, is that if adjoining or nearby land has any possibility at all of being rezoned in the future, you can just assume that it will be. Your attorney will be able to scan all of the laws regarding local zoning, and uncover possible problems in the future. This would be a good indication to look at other options.

Your attorney will also be able to discover if any of your neighbors-to-be are encroaching on your property. If a neighbor has build a garage that is too close to your property line, or it might be encroaching on your actual property, he or she might advise you to seek redress as to monetary payment for that error that your neighbor has made. Otherwise, it could be very difficult for you sell the property in the future.

The legal description of your home is very important to you as it might determine the future add-ons, remodeling and other improvements that you might wish to make.

When it comes right down to it the process of purchasing or selling property creates a series of agreements all along the way from the beginning to the final signing of the documents when ownership changes. These agreements are all contractual in nature in that promises are made either verbally, or in writing.

If the people with whom you are negotiating start to get a little less informative and less forthcoming, there may be parts of the promises that are not working out in your favor.

You attorney can take charge of the entire legal process and after knowing what it is that you wish to accomplish in the transaction, can negotiate the best possible outcome for your position.

If you desire, your attorney can be as involved, or not as involved as you wish. Most attorneys charge by the hour, but they are also reasonable people and your attorney may agree to a retainer agreement meaning that a flat fee might also be possible to arrange.

Sometimes the most unexpected situations come up when buying or selling real estate, and these areas can become very sticky and can sometimes thwart the entire real estate deal, or muddy up the waters to a great degree.

Many times sellers go through the process just hoping that you don’t find out about the sinking garage in the back yard, or the septic tank that needs replacing. Your attorney can help you back out of a deal legally, and with great dispatch, if something crops up that is not to your advantage. This is especially true if you have relied upon proprietary information, but now you find out that the information upon which you relied, is not not true.

It is very good practice to have a legal mind involved in the process of your real estate transaction, because not only does it place another pair of eyes on the process, but it also gives you a tremendous legal edge in the entire home buying process from the legal perspective.

It is not unusual to find that your home is built on an earthquake fault that has caused problems in the past, or you are right on top of an old mining area that has been quietly sinking over the years. It is your attorney who knows how to his research on the land and what it was used for prior to the last few people who have lived in the house.

Your lawyer will be a great backstop and adviser whether you choose to have him or her at the closing or not. All of the paperwork from the deed, the mortgage agreement, the survey, the warranties on all of the appliances and many other types of paperwork relating to the house is far better reviewed by your attorney than by being literally ignored by you, simply because you don’t understand the legalese.

When you look for a real estate attorney, ask family, friends and professional people in your geographical area who a good person would be to assist you in your real estate purchase. You probably won’t have too much difficulty being led to the right person.


Typically, an attorney will want to have an initial conference with you, which is usually done “off the clock” which means that you won’t be charged for the first meeting. This is where the groundwork is laid, and the attorney will lay out the battle plan.

In this way you will learn what can be accomplished by having a legal expert on the case, and your experience with the transaction will be in much better hands than if you approached it on your own.