When you sell a home, you are engaging in a complex legal arrangement. A professional realtor will be able to help you through the process. But there are times when sellers need to hire an attorney. Here's what you need to know about when you may need a lawyer and what it may cost.
Selling a home is one of the most financially complex deals many of us make. There's a lot of work to do after finding a buyer and negotiating a price. Finalizing a deal involves following national, state, and local requirements.
Depending on what you state you live in, you may be required to hire an attorney. There are 15 states in all that require an attorney for some part of real estate transactions. But even if you are not selling a home in one of these states, there are occasions when a real estate attorney is necessary.
If you're curious whether you'll need a real estate attorney, your best option is to work with a local real estate agent who understands your situation and state requirements. Find a top realtor near you today!
But if you're earlier in the process and just exploring your options, finding out your home's current market value is a good place to start. It will help you determine how much you may profit from the sale of your home so you can budget for real estate attorney fees.
Match with top-rated agents from brand-name brokerages, like Keller Williams and RE/MAX, and request a free CMA today! Sellers will save thousands in realtor commissions with pre-negotiated 1.5% listing fees.
Clever's service is 100% free with zero obligation. Interview as many agents as you like until you find the perfect fit — or walk away at any time.
What Do Real Estate Attorneys Do?
Real estate transactions can be complicated, especially if you are not used to dealing with legal terms and contracts. A real estate attorney can help you through all of the paperwork required to make the sale.
He or she usually comes in after you have determined the selling price and terms of the sale.
Even in states where you are not required to hire a lawyer, you may want an attorney to look over the contract. You do not want to fall victim to any loopholes or misinterpretations in the deal.
An attorney will draft the contract based on your agreement, review the title, review mortgage documents, and look over the transfer paperwork. They will also write the deed and validate the breakdown of settlement funds at closing.
When Should Home Sellers Use a Real Estate Attorney?
You should hire a real estate attorney if you are in financial distress. It's always best to contact a real estate attorney if you get a foreclosure notice. They may be able to find a way to stop foreclosure through an injunction.
You may also want to hire an attorney if you are going through a divorce or separation. The attorney can help you negotiate the sale with an uncooperative partner. An attorney will also be able to you determine what your legal rights are (and those of your spouse) during the selling process.
You will also want to contact an attorney if you are selling a property that has tenants. There are a myriad of local and state laws when it comes to tenants rights. Most have legal requirements that you must meet (and notices that you must provide to tenants) before tenants have to vacate. The last thing that you want is a legal entanglement due to your rental unit.
You may also want to hire an attorney if you are selling on behalf of a deceased owner. It's best to talk to a lawyer to ensure that, if the property is inherited, the rightful heir is legally determined.
You will also want to use an attorney to make sure that you are complying with the terms of any trust that may have been established. There may be fiduciary responsibilities for the property that you may not be aware of. An attorney will help you determine what your obligations are for the trust.
How Much Do They Charge?
A professional real estate agent will be able to help you through the search, negotiation, and closing phases of most real estate transactions. But as noted above, you may want to hire an attorney to look over the final contract before you sign. A Clever Partner Agent will be able to help you find a trusted lawyer.
Because attorney's fees can add up, it may be best to use them for specific parts of the sale of your property (such as contract and title review). Depending on who you hire, you can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $500 an hour for a good attorney.
You can also hire attorneys for flat fees for specific services. This can run anywhere from $800 to $1,500 when selling a home. Whether or not you decide to hire an attorney will depend on what state you live in and your particular circumstances.
In most cases, a Partner Agent will be able to help you through all of the legal requirements of selling your home, in addition to finding you a large pool of potential home buyers. But spending a few hundred dollars for an attorney to check over all of the fine print in the final deal can be worth it. After all, no one wants a dispute over a home sale to end up in court.
A Clever Partner Agent can help you determine if and when you need an attorney. He or she will also be able to suggest reliable legal resources and refer you to a lawyer that you can depend on. Clever partners with top-real estate agents from major companies like Keller Williams, Century 21, and RE/MAX.
They are full-service and they can help you find additional cost saving opportunities when selling your home. Most importantly, they are experts in their field and can help you sell your property without any legal worries.