Duties and Responsibilities of Real Estate Lawyers
Buying a property is one of the most significant purchases you can make. Therefore, you should hire a real estate lawyer to provide specific legal advice and guide you through the process of closing on the purchase of property, whether commercial or residential. Lawyers, for example, can offer legal advice on covenants, restrictions on real estate, and deed problems, and help resolve disputes over encroachment, trespass and other boundaries issues. Also, Lawyers will be able to advise on how to take title to the property and how to minimize liability risks connected with the property ownership.
Other duties of a qualified lawyer in real estate transactions fall into three major categories:
A) Contract/Purchase and Sale Agreement
The purchase and sale agreement is a crucial document, as it contains all the terms of your real estate transaction, including the purchase price and terms for making a security deposit, the description of the property, purchase contingencies like financing and inspection, contract cancellation provisions, and any other terms involved in the process. A buyer or seller should read and must understand the purchase and sale agreement before signing it. A real estate lawyer can help you review the contract, negotiate the terms of the agreement, and explain your rights and obligations as a seller or buyer, such as those involving the security deposit.
B) Title Search and Examination
A real estate lawyer will examine the county public records to ensure that the property you are buying is free and clear of any (1) judgments; (2) third party claims; (3) unpaid taxes; (4) outstanding deeds of trust or mortgages; and (5) defective deeds and associated defects. Your lawyer will report to you, your financial institutions or lenders, and title insurance company, where applicable, what his search of the public records disclosed regarding the property. The lawyer will ensure that there was no fraudulent transfer of property or any missing information about that property along the chain of title.
The closing concludes the deal. Closing involves the buyers signing all the documents related to the transaction, including the closing disclosure form (formerly known as HUD form). A closing disclosure is a sophisticated form outlining all the charges and fees associated with the sale and purchase. Before closing, instructions from the financial institutions are sent to your lawyer. The lawyer is responsible for preparing all the required closing documents, scheduling the closing date, explaining all the closing documents and ensuring those documents are accurately executed and recorded. Once all required closing documents are signed, the lawyer distributes all payments to the parties and the buyer obtains possession of the keys.
The above overview demonstrates that the real estate lawyer is essential to the success of real estate transactions. An experienced lawyer will ensure that your interests are adequately represented and all ends well.