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Real Estate Transaction FAQs

Q. Do I need to hire an attorney when I am involved with buying or selling a home?

A. Generally, the law varies from state to state. In some states, home purchases contracts and other pertinent documents along with title searches can only be performed by an attorney. Even if using an attorney is not required by law in your state, it is still highly advisable to have the input of a qualified real estate attorney to ensure that you are aware of your rights and responsibilities. A real estate agent may help you with many aspects of buying and selling but often legal issues arise that require the input of an attorney in order for you to make the best decision for yourself and your family. For instance, what if you are interested in a home, but the owner is renting to a tenant – are you allowed to request that the tenant leave? Will you have to evict them if they refuse? Is this legal? There are numerous gray areas in real estate transactions that require interpretation thought a seasoned real estate attorney to ensure you are making an informed decision.

Q. How can I learn about zoning or land use issues surrounding a property I am interested in?

A. Zoning and land use issues are best left to qualified real estate attorneys with direct experience with real estate law in the state you are considering purchasing in. Determining zone and land use regulations can be complex, most especially if a property is adjacent to an area that this already zoned for a specific purpose and your intentions are in opposition to this. Each state, and often municipalities, as well, has a different set of land use regulations, most especially with regard to allocated “green space.” The only way to avoid a costly error and be sure that you want to proceed with a purchase is to enlist the counsel of a real estate attorney.

Q. My attorney has been with me throughout my first real estate purchase, but I don’t think I really need an attorney for the closing – I already know every angle of this transaction. Is it advisable to proceed alone?

A. It is at closings that problems and differences of opinion often arise. The closing is among the most important aspects, and the most complex, of a real estate transaction wherein you should be enlisting the support and input of a seasoned real estate attorney. Often, the anticipation of finally closing a deal leads individuals to agree to things they shouldn’t because an attorney was not there to advise them – and once you have closed, the deal has been finalized. It is not advisable to attend the closing of a real estate transaction without your real estate attorney at your side.