Attorneys can support buyers and sellers throughout the entire real estate transaction or with select procedures. Some examples of how attorneys help with a real estate purchase or sale include:
Contract Creation & Review
For individuals entering into real estate transactions without representation, it is up to them to properly complete all sections of an executable contract. Real Estate attorneys are experts on the law and legal documents and can be invaluable in ensuring documents are correct. They also protect their clients from unwittingly giving up rights, and money, or incurring unnecessary liability.
Attorneys may conduct searches on the property to ensure a “clean” title, meaning, ownership is clearly established and that there are no liens or claims on the property. The attorney’s firm may leverage multiple resources, including deeds, tax liens, land records, court judgments, and other records.
Title Insurance Policies
There are two forms of title insurance. The first protects lenders from financial loss sustained from issues with a title to a property. The second is Owner’s Title Insurance which protects homebuyers. If there is a mortgage on the property, buyers are obligated to secure a policy for the lender. The owner’s policies are optional. Real estate lawyers can arrange for the purchase of both types of policies.
Attorneys may prepare the Closing Disclosure Form (formerly known as the HUD packet), which serves as a statement of final loan terms and closing costs. They may also coordinate the transfer of funds, verify all documents are completed and guide their client through the sometimes complex process of signing documents.
The services provided by attorneys can vary from firm to firm and also by state. In most states, attorney representation in a real estate transaction is optional. Buyers and sellers may use an attorney for a specific function as opposed to the entire transaction.