Potentially the largest purchase of your life is the purchase of your home. With each requirement to fulfill comes more money that has to go into meeting said requirements. The expenses of homeownership surely begin before you even ever officially own your home. In trying to weigh the importance of these expenses, it is easy to begin to think about where you can cut some costs. Perhaps you can do some of the household fixes yourself, or perhaps you decide to do most of the legwork of finding the home of your dreams on your own. In deciding this, you may consider should you hire a lawyer when buying a house? Or should you complete the purchase on your own, without legal advice?
The answer to that question is: it depends. There are certain states that require you to obtain a lawyer for a real estate closing and even require that certain documents are only completed by a lawyer.
According to GPS Law Group in 2019, those states include: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia. Now, we know that we all live in an ever-changing society, so this list is subject to change. Before you begin the home-buying process, look into your local laws and regulations to see if a lawyer is required to purchase a home in your state.
Regardless of whether or not a lawyer’s presence is required to purchase a new home, having a lawyer involved in this process has its benefits. It’s always a good idea to weigh the pros and cons of any decision. Beyond the con of the cost, there really is no other disadvantage to hiring a lawyer when you are buying a home. Here are some of the benefits to help you decide if it is worth the lawyer fees.
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Arguably, one of the most daunting and essential tasks of buying a home is the title search. A title search is when all aspects of the presents owners are reviewed, including the original purchase of the home, as well as if the current owners owe any debt. It is the process in solidifying that the current owners have the right and ability to sell their property to you. It also ensures that you are not inheriting any of their money troubles should you purchase their home. If they owe certain debts and you purchase their home, you can become responsible for some of what they owe!
As surprising as that is, it really speaks to the importance of ensuring that your title search is done comprehensively, completely and accurately. That is one expensive error to make. For that reason, many lenders will require that only a lawyer complete the title search. Should you take this task on yourself, you are taking quite the risk but it is not impossible. To make a completely informed decision on a lawyer’s role in the title search, first check with your state regulations and laws, as well as your lender, to see if they require a lawyer to perform this task. That would make your decision easy, for sure! Real estate lawyers conduct these types of searches on a regular basis and know the ins and outs of the system.
Lawyers have this way of communicating with each other that they just do not have with anyone else. Perhaps it is because lawyers almost seem to have their own language. Whatever the case may be, should you purchase a home without a lawyer, you may be in a position to have to communicate with the seller’s lawyer. This can create undue stress onto you if you do not understand something that they are saying or finding it difficult to communicate with them for one reason or another.
Having your own lawyer to represent you and engage in those conversations sure comes with its benefits. They will take care of the legal jargon so you can focus on what else needs to occur so you can move into your dream home.
Peace of Mind
When making potentially the biggest purchase of your life, it is always a good idea to have as many supportive individuals on your side as possible. Hiring a lawyer who is both knowledgeable and willing to support you through the process is an asset. Sure, you may be able to fumble your way through the documents to purchase your home, but you also can make a mistake. Unfortunately, making a mistake on a legal document could be a lot more daunting than simply correcting it and trying again.
Once an agreement is made and a legally binding document is signed, there could be legal ramifications for breaking the contract. Not to mention, as we saw with the title search, you can unknowingly inherit some of the previous homeowners problems or headaches without knowing it. Hiring a lawyer to assist with these tasks and double check your legal documents will give you peace of mind that you have correct and thorough paperwork.
Knowing the Law
As you’ve seen several times throughout this article, there is a lot of “it depends” when it comes to homebuying. Instead of checking local laws and regulations on your own, a real estate lawyer can do these for you. Their very job is to know the real estate world and the laws that govern it. Laws are written in a way that they are complex and, at times, hard to understand how they should be correctly followed. Having a lawyer with you throughout the process will ensure that you are abiding by the real estate laws that set into place where you live.
A benefit of your real estate lawyer knowing the ins and outs of the real estate laws is that should something go awry, they will be able to provide you with legal advice on how to proceed. If something arises that is severe enough to end the purchase contract, they would be able to assist with that also and help you through it. Should such an issue arise, that could create substantial worry and concern on your end. Having that knowledge and support in your corner will definitely be of benefit to you.
More Eyes are Better than None
In the real estate world, where a small error on a form can void an entire contract, it is important to be as meticulous as possible to ensure that everything submitted is free of mistakes. That being said, we are all human. As humans, we also all make mistakes at one time or another.
Therefore, having an extra set of eyes to look over legal documents is extremely beneficially. It is particularly helpful to have a lawyer look at the documents, as they most likely know where the most common mistakes are made on the forms and can ensure that they are filled out correctly. It is better to look it over and have it double, triple, quadruple checked than make a very unfortunate and usually expensive mistake.
Purchasing a home is a major purchase in anyone’s lifetime. It very well may be the biggest purchase they will ever make. The process of buying a home involves transferring property over from one person to the next. In doing so, certain tasks must be done, such as the title search, to ensure that the transaction is allowable and legal. Some of the tasks that are required can be quite daunting. This is why it would be beneficial to hire a lawyer to assist with the homebuying process.
Along with that, certain states and districts require that a real estate lawyer complete closing of households. Therefore, it is imperative that you check your local laws and regulations to see if this is a requirement.
You will also want to check with your lender to see if they require a lawyer to complete any of the tasks of homebuying. For example, they may not require a lawyer at closing but may state that only a lawyer can complete the title search. It is important to ensure that you gather all essential information and requirements of your particular geographical area.
Regardless of requirements, it is abundantly clear that there are many benefits to hiring a lawyer to purchase a home. These benefits certainly seem to justify the cost of hiring a real estate lawyer.