Transactions involving huge amounts of money or those which are financially or legally complex in nature generally require the services of a professional. Real estate purchase is one such scenario, especially “Home Buying” which at times can be quite a lengthy process. If you are buying a residential property from a known person or which has no legal encum
brances it makes the entire purchase deal an easy task and in such cases you do not require expert help, such as, an attorney. However, if the property you intend to buy has several previous owners or spread across acres of land you should seek help from a real estate lawyer.
There are other situations where legal help is a must. Mentioned below are two such situations.
So what are short sales? The answer is really simple. When home loan borrower is unable to pay the installments or the loan amount, he/she simply offers the property for sale. This generally means “Desperate” sale which results in disposing off the house below the loan amount and even market value.
In such a scenario, depending upon the agreement signed by the owner, the said person can simply walk away free after selling the house or continues to be liable for the balance amount. Now if you buy this property the liability typically shifts on the new buyer. In such a scenario it is a good idea to hire a real estate attorney to ascertain these crucial aspects, check agreements, verify details with the loan provider which could be a bank or a financial institution. Even a seller can benefit by appointing a real estate lawyer.
As the name suggests it is a mortgage loan. To put it in simple words, it is a loan offered against the house you intend to buy. Your property is your bank’s collateral. The banks or financial institutions disburse such loans to individuals for an agreed upon period. During this time frame the lender pays back the entire amount plus the interest in equal installments. In case the borrower fails to pay up the said loan, or defaults on the installments, the lender has all the rights to take possession of your property through legal means and sell it in the open market.
In such a scenario a real estate lawyer will come in real handy. Ideally his job will be to check the paperwork and also the liability transferred on to the shoulders of the new buyer, which means you.
However, your lawyer can go a step further and also make preliminary survey, get pre-approval from the bank/financial institution, find out the rate of interest and may also suggest a mortgage broker for quicker deal. Mortgage brokers typically deal in such properties. They have strong connections with banks and institutions and will therefore offer best deals and in most of the cases you don’t have to pay them from your own pocket as the lender such as the bank will take care of their fees/commission.
However, the million dollar question is, how do you find a genuine, dynamic and knowledgeable real estate lawyer. Secondly, if you find one how do you know if he/she is capable of handling your requirement?
Here are some questions you need to ask before hiring a real estate legal authority.
1. License – As mentioned above, for normal property transactions your broker will accomplish most of the chores for you although he’s not a legal entity. Years of experience makes him/her knowledgeable to successfully complete the deal in all respects. However, if you are hiring an attorney you need to ask this question to yourself and your candidate â??Is the said entity licensed to practice?” Your attorney should be a certified practitioner. Verify his/her credentials. It will make a world of difference later.
2. Experience – Make sure you hire someone who’s got lots of experience, and someone who’s a seasoned player in this field. It means a person who’s got hawk eyes to spot errors or missing clause from agreements. Experience also means this entity saves you from immense financial and legal grief and fetches you a bargain deal. An experienced lawyer will do the pre-delivery inspection and find loopholes if any. Your legal help will update you on several aspects such as insurance, utility services and make sure all these basic necessities are up and running before you sign on the dotted line.
3. Recommendations – People recommend someone when they are happy with their service. The same applies to lawyers. While hiring a real estate attorney ask for testimonials and recommendations. This two prong strategy will mean you get legal help from a person who has many success stories behind him. Once you decide or narrow down your choice call up people who have testified to ascertain the fact.
4. Member of Bar Association – Is your lawyer a member of any state legal body or bar association? Ask this question as it will offer you a better insight into his/her background. Secondly, if things go awry you can take help from the said association to settle the dispute. The verification can be done online and therefore there is no need to actually visit the lawyer’s place. Also make sure your lawyer specializes in real estate landscape and is not just a general practitioner.
5. Fees – Last but not the least; fees. Before you commit yourself make sure you clarify this issue. Typically lawyers charge by the hour. However, there are exceptions. The most conservative fees hover around $150 to $200 per hour. Many legal entities sometimes charge lump sum amount based on the task or amount of work involved. Either way, make sure there are no ill feelings while settling the bill.