Generally speaking, it’s not advisable for people who wish to engage in real estate transactions to do it alone, especially as individual real estate transactions differ greatly from each other, depending on the country, state, or city where each transaction takes place.
The value of non-legal service providers can hardly ever be compared with that of good real estate lawyers. In fact, no other legal professional offers the kinds of specialized skills that real estate lawyers offer.
Although some non-legal service providers claim to offer the same quality of legal services for lesser money than that requested by real estate lawyers or attorneys, it may be far better off to pay extra money to employ the services of a real estate lawyer.
Whether or not your country, state, or city legally demands that its citizens employ the services of a real estate lawyer in closing real estate or property deals, real estate lawyers can be invaluable during real estate buying and selling transactions.
Property transactions conducted through non-legal service providers or advisors may not be as secure as those conducted through real estate lawyers or attorneys who have stronger protections and more government or legal backing in place.
Because they have certain educational and licensing criteria that must be met, lawyers are held in higher regard and to higher standards and can provide insurance or security for any damages in the event of mistakes, accidents, or errors.
Who is a real estate lawyer?
A real estate lawyer (or real estate attorney) is anyone who is licensed to practice real estate law and qualified to legally handle or engage in real estate or property proceedings, cases, or transactions; they negotiate conditions and terms of real estate transactions, offer advice to entities or people involved in real estate deals, and can file a lawsuit against certain aspects of a real estate transaction.
Duties, responsibilities, or obligations of a real estate lawyer
Real estate lawyers are generally hired to address certain aspects of a real estate transaction or litigate real estate- or property-related lawsuits.
A real estate lawyer’s specific duties, responsibilities, or obligations would depend on what a client (seller or lender) hires them for, and what their country, state, or city laws permit or require to be done in order to get a real estate or property deal sealed.
Many countries, states, or cities require a real estate lawyer or attorney to be present when a real estate or property transaction is being closed or sealed. Specifically, these are 15 of the most essential duties, responsibilities, or obligations of a real estate lawyer or attorney:
1. Explain or interpret the meaning of regulations, laws, or rulings that concern real estate transactions.
2. Manage and resolve real estate disputes, define clear boundaries, and defend the rights of landlords or property owners and renters or tenants.
3. Evaluate the offer made by a buyer, and re-examine all legal paperwork regarding buying or exchanging of property. This is done to ensure that details are exact and the buyer’s or client’s utmost interest is defended.
Paperwork could include documents on titles, property transfers, home purchase agreements, title insurance policies, mortgages, and property taxes. When a client is buying a property or home, the real estate lawyer can:
- Accurately interpret the purchase contract and ensure that documentation abides by the most current property regulations and laws.
- Prepare or draft and file all essential legal documents, agreements, and leases, and review all paperwork that a buyer may be required to sign before collecting official identification.
- Prepare title insurance after conducting a title search to protect a buyer from potential problems by ensuring that there are no existing claims to real property.
- Transfer funds from buyer’s account to an escrow account, and handle mortgage loan and borrowing agreement paperwork whenever a mortgage lender is financing the purchase of a home.
- Ensure that buyer obtains a valid title that is only subject to financial obligations or liabilities that the buyer themself accepts.
- Identify any unpaid loans and ensure that no concordats, covenants, or claims are filed against properties that buyers are interested in.
- Evaluate any modifications, including the cost of utilities and owed taxes—if any—before closing a real property deal.
- Attend and represent buyers during closing.
4. Re-examine legal paperwork for selling of property, or evaluate any offers received by seller, in order to ensure that details are precise and seller’s or client’s best interest is guarded. When a client is selling a home or property, the real estate lawyer can:
- Affirm that ownership is suitably vested in the seller of a home.
- Prepare or review the sale and the negotiating terms and purchase agreements or documents that need to be signed by the parties involved, prior to receipt of official identification.
- Ensure that documents are in line with the most current property laws and regulations.
- Arrange security deposit transfer.
- Arrange provision of insurance certificates, if required.
- Redress any potential issues regarding the title.
- Attend and represent sellers during closing.
5. Confirm that parties involved in a real estate deal fulfil their obligations under a contract agreement.
6. Manage foreclosure proceedings in certain circumstances in order to repossess collateral for defaulted loans, and protect assets.
7. Monitor transfer of documents and titles, access whether there is legal risk in real estate or property documentation, and advise clients when or where necessary.
8. Ensure that necessary approvals are established before real estate transactions are executed.
9. Supervise compliance-related and regulative services.
10. Represent real estate companies during purchases and sales of properties.
11. Provide general advice and support for legal needs that are linked with any large-scale real estate listing or portfolio.
12. Explore obligations like utility charges, taxes, and homeowners association fees and compute them on the basis of their allocation in a contract.
13. Prepare deeds, disclosures, and notes or mortgages to secure debt in compliance with a mortgage lender’s instructions.
14. Negotiate and review real estate contracts to ascertain how money can be properly allocated.
15. Prepare settlement statements that indicate funds from the buyer and charges to items such as title search fee, lawyer’s or attorney’s fee, loan discount points, agent commission, underwriting fee, etc.