If you are not using a real estate agent to sell your home then you are still likely to benefit from advice from a real estate professional. It may be a requirement of the state that by law you must use a real estate attorney. Even if this is not the case, a for sale by owner (FSBO) seller may still benefit from the expertise of an attorney at various stages of the selling process.
A real estate attorney can assist in many areas throughout the housing transaction and it is their responsibility to ensure that your best interests are protected throughout the process of selling your home. The attorney can act as the escrow agent and will be able to hold down payments, documentation and earnest money deposits. Any complicated offers that are received from a potential buyer can be looked over by the attorney and they can help you decipher and evaluate the offer. An attorney can host and handle the closing in the event that it is not handled by the lender’s attorney, and if the lender’s attorney does host the closing, your attorney can represent your interests.
When searching for an attorney that will assist you in the housing transaction there are a number of ways that an attorney can be selected. Attorneys in your area can be searched for using a local or internet directory. However, hiring an attorney that comes with a reference is usually a better alternative than cold calling attorneys. Friends and family who have recently sold their homes may be able to provide you with a recommendation. You may also be able to ask any neighbors who have ‘for sale’ signs in their yard which attorney they are using and whether they are happy with the service.
When choosing a real estate attorney it is a good idea to hire an attorney that only deals with real estate. Some criminal and family law attorneys deal with real estate on the side but they may not have the expertise and experience of a real estate attorney. Attorneys that have never dealt with any real estate transactions should probably be avoided.
While the experience of the attorney is an important consideration when choosing someone to represent you, price is also a factor. Any prospective attorneys should be asked for a quote for the two main responsibilities that they will have which is reading and advising on documents and representing you at closing. Some money may be saved if you are able to prepare and fill out some of the documentation yourself. Getting quotes from a number of attorneys will ensure you have a number of options and you may also get a feel for the experience of the attorney which will help in making the decision.
Having a real estate professional to assist you with the housing transaction is a good idea even if you have sold a for sale by owner home successfully before. Legal representation can mean that you have an extra person looking out for your best interests when completing the sale.
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