For most people, buying real estate is the most significant investment they will ever make. It’s expensive, it’s time consuming, and it’s stressful. This is why it is so important to hire a real estate lawyer to help guide you through these treacherous waters.
You will have to interact with a number of different agents and entities throughout the process of purchasing real estate – banks, real estate agents, title agencies, etc. – each of which have their own agendas. The only person who cares about you and your interests is your real estate attorney.
When it comes to hiring a lawyer, most people will immediately begin to evaluate the value proposition of the service provided. Make no mistake: real estate lawyers can provide you with a lot more than just peace of mind (although peace of mind is also nice). Indeed, real estate lawyers can actually save you money, sometimes a lot of money.
The current median sale price of residential real estate in Nashville, Tennessee is $230,000. This is more money than most people want to gamble, so let’s examine some ways that real estate lawyers can help protect your investment, as well as your pocketbook.
REAL ESTATE LAWYERS CAN SAVE YOU MONEY BY…
1. Advising you about restrictions on the property you are buying
Some properties have restrictions placed on them by 3rd party regulatory bodies. For example, historic districts of a city may prohibit certain alterations from being made to a property. If a deal-breaking restriction is overlooked, and you invest a small fortune into a property that you later find out isn’t suitable for your needs, then what? You will probably want to sell the property in the near future. In this scenario, even if the housing market is going up, it is unlikely that you will be able to fully recover everything that you spent.
2. Reviewing your purchase contract
Unless you went to law school, the odds of you being able to successfully navigate the legal world of real estate contracts are slim. Investing in real estate is a major life event, so there is a lot at stake. Hiring a real estate attorney to advise you on what kinds of terms are customary in contracts could save you a lot of money down the line.
3. Ensuring that there are no issues with your title
Your title, or deed, represents your ownership of the property. This element of a real estate investment is absolutely critical. There are a lot of things that can go wrong when a title is being transferred. If the transfer is botched in any way, or if there is somebody else that has a legal claim to the property, you will be in danger of losing the property all together. Going to court to defend your rights will also be enormously expensive, not to mention uncertain. Wouldn’t it be easier just to get it right in the first place?
4. Helping you negotiate the deal
Your real estate attorney has the knowledge and know-how to ensure that you are getting the best deal possible when you are buying or selling real estate. Negotiating a deal alone can expose you to significant risk, especially if you have never purchased real estate before. Leave this to the professionals, and hire a lawyer to look out for your interests and make sure that the terms of your purchase contract are fair.
5. Helping ensure that your transaction is properly recorded
When the title (deed) of a property is transferred, the change in ownership is publicly recorded so that there is no ambiguity as to the identity of the true owner. No matter how well a deal might have gone, it is still crucial that your ownership of the property be recorded properly. If there is an error, while you will still legally own the property, the door will be opened to competing claims on your property. Regardless of the validity of these claims, you will have to defend yourself in court, and this is not cheap. It’s better to save yourself the headache by having a real estate attorney ensure that your title is properly transferred and recorded in the first place.
6. Saving you nearly infinite time
Benjamin Franklin famously said that time is money, and hiring a real estate lawyer can save you nearly limitless time. Learning everything you need to know to handle your own real estate transactions can literally take years. And lawsuits can take even longer to be resolved. Both will dominate your schedule and your life, but you can avoid all of it by simply hiring a real estate lawyer. Real estate lawyers have the training and expertise to handle the transaction efficiently so that you can sleep easy at night, and go back to making money instead of spending it.
These are just a few scenarios where a real estate attorney can save you money. Any one of these things could wind up costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more. However, each of these risks can be eliminated by hiring a lawyer up front.