Dreaming of the future, exploring neighborhoods and finding the perfect home is an exciting time for most home buyers. For sellers, the process can be equally exhilarating as they prepare to take their next steps. And that wonderful moment when you learn your bid has been accepted (or, if you’re selling, you accept a bid) is a sweet one. For many buyers and sellers, however, that euphoria soon dissipates as the walls of closing-related paperwork begin to close in.
From the Buyers Perspective And nothing, it seems, generates more paperwork than a real estate closing. For many buyers, the DIY temptation for navigating the closing process solo is strong. With endless online options for mortgages, insurance and more, tech savvy buyers are easily seduced by the promise of low rates and rebates. While shaving off additional fees, working directly with agents and limiting the number of hands in your closing pot may seem wise and cost-effective, it’s a strategy with a high likelihood of failure and an even higher likelihood of grave frustration. In real estate, you get what you pay for and qualified closing attorneys are a good investment.
An attorney’s mission is to negotiate, advocate and represent your best interests after the selling price and terms have been established. Your attorney will review the contract, help guarantee that you’re dealing with reputable lending agents, negotiate inspection-related repairs and secure a clean title, ensuring that your best interests and assets are protected throughout the entire closing process and beyond.
“It’s important to understand that other attorneys present at the closing – for example, the lender’s or seller’s attorney – do not represent you. These people may not be able to answer your questions and are required to act in the lender’s or seller’s interests, not yours. While some states require that there be an attorney present at closing, note that this attorney has a primary responsibility to the lender. If this is your first home purchase you may consider having your own legal representation. Your real estate agent or mortgage broker can provide recommendations if you do not have an attorney.” -- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Real estate lawyers will represent you as you seek financing and will advise you on the various options, methods and alternatives in real estate financing. Your legal team will help you gather required documentation and clarify the often overwhelming process, making it easier for you to focus on the future. A qualified real estate law firm will look for hidden costs, review documentation and advocate for you throughout the process.
Although hiring a real estate attorney isn’t required in Tennessee, it is often advisable. In the event that you’re an out-of-town buyer or are considering a property that may have structural issues or are purchasing commercial, estate sale, short sale or bank-owned properties, then it’s best to leave these complex transactions to experienced professionals.
From the Seller’s Perspective If you’re selling property, having someone protecting your assets is critical, particularly if you’re an executor, selling a distressed property, have a non-cooperative partner or have judgements or liens in your background. Your attorney should review the contract language and discuss any unusual provisions with you prior to meeting with the buyer. You should consult with your lawyer as offers come in and counter-offers and extended. And, should there be an issue with the title, your legal team will take the lead on resolving any issues.
Make A Sound Decision The function of a real estate lawyer or firm is entirely independent from that of your realtor or broker. For many, buying or selling a home is the largest financial transaction they’ll ever experience. With so much at stake, hiring a real estate attorney is a sound decision.