Include Your Lawyer in the Home Buying and Selling Process
Feb. 21, 2019
When you’re talking with a realtor about home buying and selling, it’s easy to get so swept up in the excitement of house hunting that you forget to protect yourself and your rights. When you’re preparing to sell or purchase your home, you should always work with a lawyer to review contracts prior to signing to protect your rights and avoid any unfortunate surprises.
When You’re Purchasing a Home
In a typical home purchasing process, the seller will enter into a brokerage contract with a real estate agent. Once the broker finds a buyer, negotiations will begin, and the broker will act as an intermediary. Once an informal agreement has been reached, both buyer and seller will have a formal written contract for the sale. Eventually, after a title search is completed and financing is procured, the property is transferred, and the seller receives the money. If a lawyer isn’t involved, there are many legal hiccups that can occur along the way.
Why Should a Lawyer Be Involved in Home Buying and Selling?
Lawyers are incredibly skilled at reviewing contracts and identifying vague or unclear terms that can lead to future problems. Many sellers sign brokerage agreements that fail to address potential legal issues, as many real estate agents used standardized forms without realizing they fail to cover all circumstances. A lawyer can examine contracts before you sign them and protect your rights if a seller withdraws the property from the market or fails to deliver a clear title.
A legal professional can also assist you in answering important questions related to home buying and selling. What are the tax consequences of selling your home? Are there tax provisions that could help you in minimizing the negative financial impact of a sale or purchase?
Attorneys can review and suggest changes to purchase agreements, which are the most critical documents in a home buying or selling transaction. Standard forms are a good starting point, but numerous issues need to be addressed including:
If the buyer will be changing the property, will the plans be completed lawfully?
If the property has been altered, was the alteration done lawfully?
If an architect or engineer inspects the property and finds termites, lead-based paint or radon, what will happen?
What legal consequences are there if closing does not happen? What happens to the down payment?
Is the closing conditioned upon the buyer getting financing?
If these questions are not clearly answered in a purchase agreement, you could enter a heartbreaking and costly legal battle.
Answering Your Questions About Home Buying and Selling in Maryland
The sooner in the home buying and selling process that you contact an experienced lawyer, the better. Lebovitz Law can assist you in preparing for hearings and other court filings. To learn more about how we can assist you, please contact us today.