Hiring a real estate attorney is a critical part of your real estate purchase process.
Some transactions require buyers to have one. For those who get to choose, opting for a real estate attorney is a wise choice.
Why exactly would you need a real estate attorney? For the same reason that you would need one for any other legal matter – to protect your interests.
An attorney provides a second set of eyes, which you should have from the very beginning of the purchase process.
Before you sign any sales contract, regardless of your impulse or what others may be telling you, make sure that it contains verbiage that allows for an attorney review period. This allows time for your attorney to thoroughly go through it and see if there is anything of concern.
He or she can also clarify details such as what items (fixtures, appliances, etc.) are part of the purchase agreement.
There should also be verbiage in the contract that allows you to have a home inspection performed. The results of that home inspection should also be given to and reviewed by your real estate attorney.
In addition to the points discussed above, there are aspects of the transaction that you would want to discuss only with an attorney. These include matters related to the ownership of the property.
An example of this might be an incorrectly drawn lot line. That lot line, if erroneously moved three feet further out from the home, could make you the owner of a fence.
From this point forward, you would be on the hook to maintain that fence. Neither a real estate agent nor a lender should ever attempt to take on something like this.
To ensure you partner with someone familiar with all of these matters, look for an attorney who solely handles real estate transactions. Your mortgage professional is a good source for referrals.