If you’re like most people, I’m sure you’ve experienced the following scenario.

Well Honey, I can’t believe we’re so close to owning this house. All we need to do is close on it a few days from now and we’re all set,” says Husband.

“I know!” says Wife excitedly. “We’ll finally own our own home. And it’s a great house too.

I’m not sure of some of the language in the paperwork, but the Seller says he downloaded the form on the internet and it should just be standard language. But can we trust him?”

“Of course we can trust him,” the Husband replies annoyed. “I mean, the Seller doesn’t have a lawyer.

And although I agree that some of the wording is confusing, that’s still not a good enough reason to shell out any money and hire our own lawyer to review everything.

I mean, I can just read about this stuff online and we can do it ourselves and do the closing ourselves, right? What’s the worst that can go wrong?

“Are you sure?”

“Sure, think of all the money we’ll save by not hiring a lawyer.”

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In these trying times, saving money is key, especially when you’re trying to buy your own home or sell a house.

Not only do you have to pay for the house inspection, which may include a termite inspection, asbestos inspection, mold inspection, and various other New York county ordinances and rules, but also may have to pay for a title search to check if there are any liens or encumbrances on the property and other fees and searches.

The last thing you want to do is pay for anything unnecessary, and let’s face, with the price of gas increasing, living expenses rocketing, you may be tempted to try to cut some corners, think you can be your own lawyer by reading about closings on the internet, and then try to close on the house yourself.

If you were to go that route, you would be sadly mistaken and that is probably the most foolish route you could make.

real estate attorney

 

 

In reality, the most important thing you can to do so secure the sale of the property is to hire a real estate attorney that will look out for your interests.

Consulting a real estate attorney early on will help prevent various legal issues down the road, and early legal intervention in disputes can help protect your investment and limit the worry, time, and especially the money

Whether it’s buying your own home, selling a property, or even if you’re just signing a contract for deed or lease to own agreement,, it’d be suicide if you didn’t have your own real estate attorney in your corner who will guide you through the process, answer your questions, and review the necessary documents to make sure you don’t end up committing real estate hari kari.

What do Real Estate Attorneys do?

Real estate attorneys are legal professionals who deal with real property.

They deal with various legal issues, ranging from preparing and reviewing documents related to real estate such as title documents, mortgage documents, transfer documents, purchase agreements, contracts for deeds and cases involving misrepresentation and/or nondisclosure of defects in connection with the purchase of property.

They may also handle closings, such as when a person or organization purchases a piece of real property from another person or organization.

You’ll especially need a real estate lawyer to avoid complications that may arise when purchasing properties.

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This may include problems with titles, disclosure, tax concerns, and a discrepancy during the transaction.

Accordingly, real estate attorney provide legal counsel for people relating to the purchase or sale of real property.

They make sure that the transfer of the property is documented, binding, but more importantly, recognized by the courts.

Unlike a real estate agent who will try to negotiate the price on your behalf, the real estate attorney ensures that all the closing documents, title insurance policies, title searches, and transfer of funds are all legally sound valid.

The list below are common examples of when it is absolutely critical to have a real estate attorney:

  • Foreclosures
  • Legal claims have been made against your prospective property that must be satisfied and resolved prior to any sale
  • Zoning and land use
  • You plan to rent out the cottage behind the house you’re buying and want to make sure that all local and state rules are complied with and satisfied
  • Easements and boundary disputes
  • Problems show up with the title. For example, the driveway is shared equally by the house you want to purchase and the neighboring house, but that isn’t stated in the title.
  • Adverse possession
  • You’re buying a co-op and want an attorney to review a co-op proprietary lease
  • Partition
  • You need to draft a private loan from a relative or friend to make the purchase.
  • Quiet title
  • You purchase the house jointly with other third parties and wish to draft a cobuyer agreement and document how title will be held
  • Condemnation
  • You’re buying a house that is in probate, foreclosure, or a short sale
  • Property Misrepresentation
  • if the purchase is being finance, a real estate attorney may also draft certain forms, such as the HUD-1 Form and related transfer of funds documentation for the buyer’s lender
  • And one of the most common, the seller is trying to get out of the deal, and you suspect they simply got a better offer

Should a dispute be involved, in any of the issues above, a real estate attorney is there to stand in your corner and fight for your interests.

When is the Right Time to Hire an Real Estate Attorney?

The short and simple answer is as soon as possible.

Although many real estate transactions are ordinary and are so standardized that you think you can just download a form off the internet, that is the worst mistake possible.

There are various legal issues may arise where your real estate agent can’t answer are you’re going to need an attorney’s help.

Although a real estate agent may know a lot about the negotiating and contracting part of the process, they can’t make judgments on legal questions.

Here’s an example. What if your soon-to-be new home has an illegal in-law unit with an existing tenant whom you want to legally evict in order to rent the place to a close friend?

In reality, only a real estate lawyer can tell you with any certainty whether your plans are actually viable.

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Another example would be if you’ve had a judgment filed against you or you’ve filed for bankruptcy, it’s in your best interest to consult a real estate lawyer for advice.

A real estate attorney can also be a major asset to a real estate team dealing with a property that’s part of someone’s estate, one that’s located in an area vulnerable to a natural disaster or a property that has an issue with termites, lead or another environmental contaminant.

Here’s another example. What if you’d like to rent the home for an extended duration, such as a year or two, before you’re legally obligated to buy it?

This will require drafting up a unique and unusual lease.

Or, for example, if you’re drafting any unusual language for the purchase contract, or are concerned about some language in your mortgage, you may want to have a real estate attorney look the documents over.

Having an attorney can be particularly helpful if you’re trying to buy or sell a commercial property since the rules regarding tenant relationships and a company’s tax filing status can be quite complex.

A final example is if you come across a great deal with a seller who’s selling their home very inexpensively and present you their own contract-for-deed.

You’ve ready the contract over and think that it’s a standard contract and that as long as you pay the monthly payments, the house will eventually belong to you. WRONG.

In the above example, you’d be a fool not to hire an experienced real estate attorney who will go line by line through the contract and decide whether it’s written in your favor or not.

Oftentimes, such contract are always written in favor of the Seller, but an experience real estate attorney will pick up on the details and suggest their own clauses and language to protect you to make sure that you’re not throwing away your monthly payments for nothing.

How to Find the Right Real Estate Attorney for Me?

Probably the most important decision for you when it comes to property is deciding which attorney is for you.

There are various factors in deciding how to hire the right attorney.

Although you may think price is definitely a consideration, the most important factor is experience.

real estate attorney

Having an experienced real estate attorney in your corner will give you the edge and may set the difference between having some legal issue be held against you by which you will have to pay thousands of dollars to get yourself out of the hole versus having no legal consequences.

When it comes to legal matters, especially real estate, you want to be pro-active as much as possible and do everything you can to protect yourself from any potential pitfalls and dangers.

Accordingly, when you are meeting with potential attorneys, you’ll want to ask important qualifying questions when interviewing potential real estate law firms.

One question to ask for is if the attorney you are interviewing actually practices and specialize in real estate lawyer services.

Although an attorney has the ability to practice in any area of law, that does not necessarily mean that they practice in a particular area.

There are many different types of attorneys. Some attorneys practice criminal defense while other are injury lawyers and primarily only represent people who have been injured in accidents.

You’ll want to find an attorney in real estate law.

Another question to ask is if they do practice real estate law, what percentage of their practice deals just with real estate.

Obviously, if an attorney tells you that they do in fact practice real estate, you’ll want to know what actual percentage it consists of.

If that attorney only practices real estate in a limited amount or it only represents a small portion of their practice, you’ll want to take that into consideration.

As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want an attorney in which at least thirty percent of their practice constitutes real estate.

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Similarly, another question to then ask is how many real estate cases they’ve handled.

Even though a realty attorney may tell you that half of their practice consists of real estate, if the actual number of cases is limited, you’ll want to know that when making such an important decision.

Accordingly, don’t be afraid to ask the attorney how much actual real estate cases they’ve handled.

Furthermore, don’t be afraid to try to pin the attorney down and give you an actual number instead of just a general answer like “many” or “a lot.”

You’re trying to have the best advocate in your corner so such questions are not out of line.

Finally, you’ll want to discuss your legal situation or issue with the attorney.

Tell the attorney what you’re wanting to do and what advice their thoughts are in regards to how they think they may be able to help you.

If after talking with them you feel like they are knowledgeable, experienced, and compatible enough to deal with, you may have found your right match.

At Law Office of Yuriy Moshes, we have both the experience and know-how to meet our clients needs.

We represent: owners, buyers and estate brokers in residential real estate development, transactions and disputes, such as:

  • Title insurance
  • Purchase and sale agreements
  • Land use, zoning and easements
  • Site plans, permits and environmental compliance
  • Closings
  • Mortgage and foreclosure
  • Homeowner association law (HOA)
  • Formation of ownership entities
  • Residential real estate
  • Real estate litigation, including breach of contract, lease disputes, construction litigation, and property disputes.Law office of Yuriy Moshes

Our attorneys handle every aspect of the sale or purchase, from the initial offer to the final closing.

They guide clients through the process from beginning to end, and are readily available to answer questions and address concerns in the greater New York City area including all its boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island) as well as Northern New Jersey, Long Island, and upstate New York.

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