1. Your First, and Subsequent, Home Purchases- No doubt you have a buyer’s agent representing you to help you negotiate the best price, find the right home, and move the sale along expertly and efficiently. But if you want legal advice, only an attorney can do that. Plus, an attorney can spot legal red flags before they become big issues.
An attorney: Gives you an additional review of the contract and contingencies involved in what is likely the biggest purchase you’ll ever make.
- Stops you from signing optional closing documents that aren’t in your best interest. If your title company slips you a release absolving it of negligence even if it does something wrong during your closing, you might not notice it among the plethora of papers you’re signing. But, your attorney’s going to catch it.
2. Investment Rentals- Local law gives tenants the right of first refusal on whether to purchase the unit. They said they wanted to buy but couldn’t qualify. As the issue dragged out, the attorney advised us through the unfortunate eviction process. When you invest in a home you plan to rent out, an attorney can guide you through an eviction as well as zoning, building, health code, and local or state rental laws that affect your property. You may also want to talk to your lawyer about the different ways to hold title to your investment property. The vast majority of our investments have been rewarding experiences. But having legal counsel in the wings sure comes in handy when the unexpected occurs.
3. Foreclosed Homes- You’ve probably heard about the great deals you can get when you buy a foreclosed home at a foreclosure sale. But you rarely hear about the risks. An attorney can help you deal with those risks, if necessary. Risks vary from place to place because each local jurisdiction that holds a foreclosure sale sets its own rules. A county might allow homeowners whose properties are sold at a foreclosure auction to buy back their homes within a set time period, such as a year. Another may offer foreclosed homes with liens, or claims against the property, attached. And at some foreclosure sales, property liens transfer along with the property — meaning you’ll have to pay off the liens if you buy the property.
4. Land- If you’re purchasing land to build a custom home or buying an undeveloped lot and seeking approval to build, it would make sense to hire an attorney. You could run into issues with zoning, titles, undisclosed environmental hazards, or a new highway scheduled to cut through your backyard — just to name a few potential problems. An attorney can make sure you get clear title with no access issues; figure out what can be built on any nearby lots; and advocate for you if an inspection turns up a serious environmental concern like toxic waste.
5. Short Sales
Your real estate agent is the key player in your property transaction. But when it comes to the biggest purchase you’ll likely ever make, it’s smart to have an attorney on hand, ready to field any legal issues that might crop up.