Purchasing a home is a complex legal transaction with a lot at stake financially. Hiring an experienced real estate attorney to represent your interests as the buyer provides tremendous value. But what exactly does a real estate lawyer do for home buyers?
What Does a Real Estate Attorney Do for a Buyer?
A buyer’s real estate attorney protects their client during the home purchase process by reviewing the property listing and purchase contract, negotiating offer terms, facilitating inspections and appraisal review, ensuring the clearance of any title issues, explaining closing documents, and generally safeguarding the buyer through closing.
1. Reviewing the Property Listing
Early in the process, the buyer’s real estate attorney reviews the property listing and required disclosures from the seller to spot any areas requiring deeper investigation to protect their client’s interests.
For example, disclosing past flooding issues prompts the attorney to focus on verifying mitigation was done properly.
2. Crafting the Purchase Offer
The attorney helps draft the initial purchase offer, ensuring terms like price, contingencies, and other clauses benefit the buyer. The lawyer utilizes their expertise to gain advantages without taking unreasonable positions that may stall or thwart negotiations.
3. Negotiating Terms & Counteroffers
As the buyer and seller negotiate the purchase contract, the attorneys speak on behalf of their clients, working to finalize an agreement favorable for their respective party while still keeping the deal on track. The buyer’s lawyer advocates to strengthen their bargaining position.
4. Facilitating Financing, Inspections & Appraisals
The buyer’s attorney ensures required loan application and approvals, inspections, and appraisals get completed on time so that all necessary buyer requirements are completed in time before closing. If any issues surface during the loan approval process or inspections, the lawyer guides the buyer on options to address them and negotiates with the seller if needed.
5. Reviewing Title Commitment
A key duty of the buyer’s lawyer is meticulously reviewing the title report or commitment to confirm the seller has clear, marketable title to convey at closing. The attorney flags any title defects for correction to avoid ownership disputes down the road.
6. Explaining Closing Paperwork
During the frenzy of signing dozens of documents at closing, the buyer’s attorney is there to explain each item, answer questions, and ensure the buyer carefully reviews everything before signing to prevent surprises and avoid binding agreements not in the client’s interests.
7. Attending Closing
The buyer’s real estate lawyer attends the closing to oversee the signing of loan and title documents, wiring of funds, and generally represents the client if any issues arise at the last minute requiring legal guidance.
The Bottom Line
A real estate attorney acting for the buyer provides end-to-end guidance and protection starting from reviewing the initial listing documents through the keys being handed over at closing. Their involvement brings invaluable peace of mind knowing your biggest investment is in skilled legal hands.