All attorneys are not created equally. As we’ve previously written, the higher-caliber kinds have the experience and know-how to handle complicated real estate issues and deliver the service and results you deserve.
As with any profession, experience matters, and it can make a significant difference regarding a transaction’s process and the protection of your clients. The risks of working with an inexperienced attorney–who can bungle any number of issues related to liens, appraisals, inspections, contingent offers, and so on–far outweigh the rewards, if there are any at all.
When you work with a top real estate attorney, you can have your peace-of-mind and successful transaction cake and eat it, too.
Here are common scenarios where it would be in your best interest to have one on your side:
We’ll begin generally and then drill down into specific examples.
Thinking in terms of a relay race, once a broker negotiates the contract, it’s handed off to the lawyer for reviewing and fine tuning with close attention paid to items like the inspection report and any necessary repairs.
It can be a delicate balance–if you are asking for too much, your contract might get terminated, and if you’re not paying attention to details, you can hurt the client going forward. A top attorney can handle this best.
Buying From A Corporation
Any attorney will promise that they’ll protect their client…until they don’t.
Take the purchase of real estate from a corporation or LLC, for example. There may not be anyone to sue if there’s a problem after closing because most likely the only asset that is in that entity is the property. Once the property is sold, that money is distributed, which means an attorney is pursuing an entity that no longer has any assets, and to go after the principles of the corporation, an attorney would have to be able to prove fraud, which would be difficult.
A top real estate attorney detects problems ahead of time.
Some attorneys may gloss over an association’s budget or record of minutes, failing to
interpret whether or not special assessments may come into play later on. Having an attorney familiar with how strong the reserves should be based on the number of units is critical.
When you are working with an attorney who has been handling transactions for many years, seeing both the successes and failures is more of a given. An example is detecting when the representations that sellers make have no basis in reality or knowing when to offer or ask for a Home Warranty in lieu of repairs or replacement.
It’s stating the obvious to say that the attorney-client relationship is confidential. But there are facets to confidentiality that only very experienced lawyers understand that benefit the buyer or seller, as well as their broker.
With real estate transactions, information between a seller and their attorney, for example, doesn’t have to be shared with the seller’s broker or anyone on the buyer’s team. Listing errors aren’t rare. A condo listing may mistakenly show two parking spaces when there’s only one or more square footage than a unit has. If the buyer doesn’t catch an error but addresses it after the deal goes through, neither the seller nor the broker is liable. No one else involved in the transaction–broker, inspector, or lender–has confidentiality privileges other than the attorney.
To be clear, this isn’t gamesmanship or ill-intentioned; rather, the attorney is protecting their client and the broker by not disclosing information that they don’t have to.
Buying or selling a home can be an emotional rollercoaster fraught with excitement and stress, but it can be much more relaxing when having the representation of a top-notch attorney.