Q. Do I need a real estate attorney?
A. While New York law does not require the use of a real estate attorney, common sense does. Although real estate attorney fees may vary, they are quite minimal in comparison to the scope of the transaction. The time to be “penny wise and dollar foolish” is certainly not when making the biggest investment of your life. And the “time” to contact the real estate attorney is at the very beginning of the transaction, before errors are made.
Below are prime examples of how a real estate attorney can benefit you.
Reviewing and negotiating the sales contract – An experienced real estate attorney has the expertise to know what should and should not be included in the contract. Failure to include the appropriate language could result in the loss of your entire contract deposit, among other negative consequences. (See my article – “Could I Lose My Deposit?”)
Reviewing title – Title insurance companies may refuse to cover certain items. An experienced real estate attorney will know what is acceptable and what may create future problems when refinancing or selling the home.
Negotiating disputes – An experienced real estate attorney has a detailed and nuanced understanding of what is “customary and usual,” and will be better equipped to negotiate a “fair resolution” to issues that arise.
Navigating tricky or complex issues such as short sales, damaged properties, Certificate of Occupancy and Zoning issues, etc.
Drafting the sales contract – An experienced real estate attorney has the expertise to advise sellers on what should and should not be included in the contract.
Resolving title issues prior to closing – There are numerous ways in which a title issue, which would otherwise prevent the closing from taking place, may be resolved. An experienced real estate attorney has the knowledge and skills to choose the best resolution.
Drafting the deed and transfer forms – Only an experienced real estate attorney has the expertise to determine what type of deed to prepare, and what other forms will be required in order to satisfy the purchaser and his/her lender.