Finding the Right Real Estate Lawyer
What does a real estate lawyer do?
Title companies may not available for those of us who live outside of the U.S.A. Instead, we may need to turn to real estate lawyers to assist in the closing of real estate deals. This involves activities related to the title search and insurance, as well as other closing documentation and fund transfers.
First, the lawyer will conduct a title search to ensure that there are no claims on the property at hand. These claims are known as encumbrances and can hold up a real estate transaction until they are cleared. Luckily, your lawyer will be able to help you out with this and get these cleared immediately. Afterwards, your lawyer will help you obtain the necessary title insurance so you can proceed with the deal. Essentially, this helps to guarantee that the property is encumbrance-free.
After all of the title-related activities are complete, it’s time to actually close the deal. This begins with the necessary closing documents between each party. It is recommended that you have your lawyer review this as they will likely understand it much better than you will. Next is the release of escrow payments and the appropriate allocation of funds between the two parties. The very last step is for the lawyer to notify municipality officials so that the public ownership records of the property can be updated.
When do you need a real estate lawyer?
You will need a real estate lawyer whether you are buying or selling a property. Specifically, they will be needed to carry out the tasks mentioned in the previous section. In addition to this, it’s always helpful to have a lawyer on your side to review all legal documents and contracts. This way you can truly understand what you are signing and getting yourself into. Working with a real estate lawyer will help to minimize any surprises later on in the transaction process.
What should you look for in a real estate lawyer?
Experience, reputation and professionalism. As always, these three factors should help you form your initial opinion. We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again––experience is always a benefit in the real estate industry. Those who are experienced present themselves in a professional manner and this will help to make the real estate transaction process much easier and smoother. They will have greater familiarity with contracts and closing a deal. Keep things simple by going with someone who knows what they’re doing.
Very thorough and detail-oriented. This is especially important during the title search phases, as well as when reviewing contracts. You don’t want to work with a lawyer who skips over the fine details for one reason or another. After all, if they aren’t taking the time to read something how can they even know what it says? A lack of thoroughness and detail should be an immediate warning sign to look elsewhere––you can save the headache in the future.
Transparency and full disclosure. Make sure to work with a lawyer that puts everything on the table. It’s just as important for you to understand what is going on as it is for the attorney. A lawyer that provides full answers to all of your questions will generally display these traits.
Location of the lawyer’s office. Of course with real estate comes physical properties. With that said, you want to choose a lawyer in a nearby area to reduce travel time for everyone. Also, it will be easier to coordinate with everyone involved since the commute will be less of an inconvenience.
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