Do I Need A Real Estate Lawyer When Buying Or Selling A Home In California?

real estate lawyer

Buying or selling a home can be a time-consuming and often complex process. From getting your home in show-ready condition to inspections to closing contracts, there is a lot involved for both the buyer and the seller. Most people have real estate agents to assist with buying or selling, but a real estate lawyer may be valuable to have as well. Depending on the state, there could be laws and loopholes that lawyers know more about than agents do.

In the state of California, the complexities of buying and selling property can be challenging.  Read on to learn more about how lawyers can ease the stress of the process and how to find a reputable legal attorney in Los Angeles.

What Does A Real Estate Lawyer Do?

When the average person thinks of lawyers, perhaps they have visions of dramatic courtroom dramas. In reality, the daily life of a lawyer is a lot less dramatic.  A real estate lawyer, in particular, primarily helps decipher and interpret large amounts of paperwork – and there is an abundance of that when buying or selling property. They can go over every detail, word by word, to catch any errors or fine print conditions so clients fully understand what they are agreeing to.

Some potential issues that lawyers can detect include red flags about the availability or condition of the property, as well as tax benefits, hidden liens, or title issues. Ultimately, the terms of the agreement should be in favor of the client. Once an offer has been made and accepted, the attorney will draft the contracts and review the title and mortgage documents. Once a deed has been written, the transaction is closed.

Real Estate Lawyers Vs. Real Estate Agents

You may be wondering what benefit a real estate lawyer offers that a real estate agent cannot. Think of it like hiring a security guard to protect your assets. The lawyer acts as that bodyguard, with the “asset” being you, the client. You are hiring a lawyer to protect your interest. The real estate agent, by contrast, has no vested interest in any particular client: at least not from a legal perspective.

Buying And Selling A Home In California

In some states, having a real estate lawyer is an optional add-on when buying or selling property. In others, it’s required to use both; agents handle the tasks of marketing, pricing, and finding buyers, while attorneys handle transactional details. In California, attorneys aren’t required; the real estate agent handles all the aforementioned tasks.

However, real estate agents aren’t able to give legal advice, even if they are very knowledgeable about state laws regarding real estate. Additionally, someone who is selling their home without a real estate agent may want to have a lawyer to help complete the legal requirements involved.

Why Hire A Real Estate Lawyer?

Real estate lawyers may not be necessary for buying or selling a home in California, however, they bring the following benefits:

  • Familiarity with the paperwork involved in buying or selling.
  • Negotiation skills with potential buyers or the buyer’s attorney to ensure the best possible price.
  • Representation in court if there are any issues with the buyer.
  • Secured personal interest when drafting a contract of sale.

Additionally, a real estate lawyer can be useful in the event of the following situations:

The Property Has Legal Issues

Legal challenges to a property may not be obvious. Perhaps there is a lien on the property due to unpaid work by a contractor. Maybe the seller is in foreclosure or recently deceased, and living relatives are in dispute about rightful ownership. It’s crucial to ensure that there are no legal entanglements with the property before signing anything binding. Otherwise, the seller’s prior debts can become your debts in addition to your new mortgage.

Reviewing And Interpreting The Contract

What’s one thing lawyers are exceptionally good at? Paperwork! Whether drafting it, reviewing it, or deciphering it, lawyers know their way around legal-speak terminology that the average person may not understand. They can help interpret confusingly-worded phrases so you are completely aware of the terms and conditions of what you’re signing. This is essential to protect your financial interests. It’s always worth having an expert set of eyes look over a contract so there are no surprises later on.

Assistance With Closing

Is it possible to close a real estate transaction without any legal help? Sure. But is it recommended? Not always. In these large financial transactions, it’s safest to have a professional set of eyes look over every document before the buyer or seller puts their signature on them at closing. Sometimes even the smallest mistake in writing can mean big consequences or confusion.

Real Estate Lawyers In Los Angeles

Buying and selling a home are two of the biggest financial investments most of us ever make. With so many details that go into each transaction, it’s essential to have as much clarity as possible from start to finish. Real estate agents can be helpful, but having a real estate lawyer as well can ensure a stress-free experience for everyone involved.

If you’re in the Los Angeles area, you can count on Real Deal Attorneys to help find reputable legal representation.  Real Deal Attorneys is a lawyer referral service that can help you find a qualified legal expert for your situation. Give us a call today at 424-367-1271 to learn more about our lawyer referral service.


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