February 1st, 2022 2:30 PM by Scott Sakata
Our job as real estate agents is to help our clients purchase or sell properties.
We advise clients about market conditions, conduct walkthroughs, and provide guidance
and assistance through the process of buying and selling.
With that being said, a majority, if not all agents aren’t attorneys and we are limited with our scope of services.
In order to protect the largest purchase or sale of your life, it does involve huge, life-altering decisions.
Having legal counsel in your corner to help you steer clear of challenges and protect your financial well-being is important.
*Here are some reasons you may need an attorney when involved in a real estate transaction:
Liens and judgments:
If you have any outstanding liens or judgments against your property, you’ll need to resolve them before you go
through with any sale, and might want to take care of any problems even before engaging with a buyer.
An attorney will help you by negotiating with lienholders or creditors to ensure they’re paid what is owed and
these encumbrances are removed, for the sale to go through.
Liens or judgments are the most frequent issues that are found when a title search is done,
but aren’t the only problems that can be uncovered.
Clerical errors, illegal deeds, or even previously unknown heirs to the property can bring the sale to a halt,
and all require the help of an attorney to navigate.
Your property might have an easement upon it that gives another party access or right to use some portion
of the land, which, depending on the nature and extent, may not be an appealing feature to a potential buyer.
Sellers may want to determine the durability of that easement in event of sale, or see if there is a way to
terminate the easement in advance, and an experienced attorney can answer those questions and take any action necessary or available.
Many couples that buy a home together eventually split up, and handling the eventual sale of the home can
be tricky if both names remain on the deed and mortgage. If you’ve gone through, or are going through a divorce,
and are looking to sell your shared home, you’ll need to untangle the home’s ownership and coordinate the closing signatures,
disposition of the home, and proceeds from the sale.
If you’re experiencing financial trouble and are far enough behind on your mortgage payments that foreclosure
is a reality or a very likely possibility, you’ll likely want help to figure out what your options are.
An attorney can help you negotiate with your mortgage company to determine if there is a way to modify or
refinance your loan to avoid foreclosure, or if not, can help negotiate a short sale, with any loan forgiveness
and any other requirements to get out of your current home and mortgage.
Renters might prove an unwanted complication for anyone selling what is not explicitly a rental property,
and dealing with tenants requires caution to prevent violating their rights. The fact that the property is for sale
doesn’t necessarily mean you can tell them to pack up and leave; the lease terms and tenant’s actions must be considered.
In addition to the lease, there are laws governing landlords and evictions, and any mistake could result in a
tenant taking legal action. Talking with an attorney about what you’re permitted to do (or not do) will allow you
to manage at least the tenant aspect of the sale with confidence.
Not every home sale is your property or at least the property you call your own. Inheriting a home from a
family member as a trustee or beneficiary is complicated in and of itself, and trying to sell that home,
with any of the trust and tax implications to go along with the standard home-selling challenges,
is going to make things exceedingly difficult to manage on your own. Complex sales such as these are exactly
why many people choose to turn to real estate attorneys to ensure that everything is done in accordance with the law,
and that your inheritance doesn’t become a financial albatross around your neck.
There are a number of issues that might derail your home sale, and that fact is enough to compel many to
work with a real estate attorney. It’s better to be prepared for problems that don’t ultimately arise than to be
left scrambling to address a situation you hadn’t planned for, particularly on the eve of your closing. Selling your
home is important enough to get right the first time, and a real estate attorney can help ensure everything is in order on the legal side.
*Excerpts from article: “Why You Might Need a Real Estate Attorney to Sell Your Home”