In some states, real estate attorneys are a regular part of the homebuying process. Even in states where this isn’t the case, however, a complex transaction may need an attorney’s assistance. After all, if you don’t use an attorney and the transaction later goes awry, you’ll still have to hire one, at much greater time and cost. Save yourself the headache by working with a lawyer to structure the deal, not salvage it.
What's legally unusual? In some cases, you’ll know from the beginning that the transaction will be a complex one. In any of the following situations, for example, a lawyer’s help will be crucial:
Complexities may also arise in the course of making a purchase offer or conducting negotiations with the seller, including during the escrow period. Getting an attorney involved in any of the following situations will be a wise move:
Easements are another classic example of when a lawyer’s help might be warranted. For example, let’s say the home’s seller and next-door neighbors have a verbal easement allowing the neighbors to access their car’s parking spot through the seller's driveway. If you are the home’s buyer, you might want to know exactly what the neighbor’s rights are – and the limits on those rights, just in case. You’d naturally wanted to have this arrangement reduced to writing. That writing is very the sort of thing a lawyer should really draft, to make sure nothing is left out.
Most home purchases don’t need a lawyer's assistance. Nevertheless, if yours presents any unusual situation or complexity, hiring a lawyer can be a cost-effective way of preventing later disputes and litigation.