Are you in the midst of saying goodbye to the apartment and buying your first home home? Selling your first house to downsize during retirement? Or trying to figure out how to move an entire family and plan for the children to start a new school year? Handling so many moving pieces at once can feel overwhelming! Do you feel like you’re already trying to juggle many of life’s responsibilities at once – in addition to your big move?
Attempting to handle all of the legal aspects and life changing decisions that come with buying a property is stressful enough, especially if you don’t have a Real Estate Attorney (REA) on your team. Doing it on your own can be a risky recipe for home buying disaster! This is why many people make the wise decision to work with a trustworthy real estate attorney. Imagine your REA as someone who can help lighten your load and take on some of the major tasks required for your move. Wouldn’t that be amazing? We all can appreciate the help of a professional!
You may already have a credible real estate agent on your team, however that’s not the same thing as having a real estate attorney. Do you know the difference between these two job titles – and why you’ll need both for a successful move? Real estate agents are licensed professionals who arrange real estate transactions, putting buyers and sellers together and acting as their representatives in negotiations. A few common responsibilities of agents include: determining the home’s value, enter the home into MLS database, market the home, coordinate offers, and prepare documents. Learn more about the benefits of working with a real estate agent here!
“In almost every state, a real estate agent must work for or be affiliated with a real estate broker (an individual or a brokerage firm), who is more experienced and licensed to a higher degree. Agents who work for the seller, also known as listing agents, advise clients on how to price the property and prepare it for sale, including providing tips on last-minute improvements that can boost the price or encourage speedy offers.” Investopedia
Hiring both a real estate agent and an attorney will be beneficial to your overall home buying experience. Each professional brings something important to the table. Learn more about the differences between the two here!
“Real estate attorneys help their clients understand contracts and other legal documents. They deal with zoning issues and mortgage fraud, negotiate on behalf of the parties they represent, oversee the transfer of deeds and titles and verify whether a commercial or residential property has a lien, a restrictive covenant or another legal issue. Real estate attorneys can work with both individuals and corporations. Whether or not you’ll need one will ultimately depend on what you’re trying to accomplish.” Smart Asset
Ben Weaver of 23 Legal shares how a reputable real estate attorney like himself can help keep your move on track…
What is a Real Estate Attorney (REA)?
Buying a home (whether it’s your first one or another stop on your journey) is an exciting experience! However, moving can also feel overwhelming – especially when you see homes flying off the market in just a few weeks and you have a specific timeline to work with. What happens once you find your dream home? How do you lock it down for purchase before anyone else? How can you make sure the other party sticks to their agreement and keeps the original closing date? This is where a Real Estate Attorney comes in to play.
A real estate lawyer is someone whose job it is to be an expert regarding the rules and regulations related to real estate transactions in your state. In certain states, you can’t buy or sell a house unless a real estate lawyer is present. Real estate attorneys specialize in legal matters related to property, from sale transactions to disputes between parties. They help their clients understand contracts and other legal documents. Attorney Ben Weaver is a proud member of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association, ready to assist you on your journey!
“Real estate attorneys are lawyers trained to address the legal issues surrounding property interactions. They may represent organizations or individuals. Among the documents real estate attorneys typically handle are purchase agreements, mortgage documents, title documents and transfer documents. In some cases, they help individual homebuyers close on houses.” Bank Rate
Important qualities to look for in a lawyer:
- Valuable Network: An REA should have established relationships with realtors in their area. Attorney Ben Weaver has been practicing law in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago for long enough to establish quality relationships. He cas acquired valuable connections that prove to be helpful when clients needs recommendations, for example getting their potential home inspected by someone who is trustworthy.
- Work Ethic: Ben has spent his career helping clients lock down their dream homes. He works day and night (and even on weekends if needed) to make sure that your contract works in your favor and helps quickly resolve any issues that may occur. Being a family man himself, he understands the level of responsibility and diligence it takes to properly move your family!
- Organized and Experienced: Hiring a reputable lawyer like Ben Weaver will protect your family from potential serious legal issues or liabilities. Each state has its own real estate laws. That’s why it’s important to have an REA that has practiced in that state and understands the legal ramifications in each jurisdiction. Experience really is key when it comes to practicing law. He’ll keep your move on time and according to schedule. Check out Ben’s 5-star reviews for proof!
Specific Reasons a REA is Vital for Your Big Move
Negotiations: There are an extensive amount of legal documents involved in the closing process. Even before entering the closing process, a real estate lawyer can help you negotiate price points for purchase of the home. Your attorney can even help negotiate terms of the closing like the seller crediting you at the closing. An REA can protect you from overspending on the home if they discover the property value doesn’t match its market price after the home inspection. Read more about the home inspection here. These additional ways to save your family money and time are priceless!
Closing Process: Your lawyer is responsible for overseeing the closing, this means helping you clearly understand all of the documents that are required to be signed. Furthermore, he/she is there to handle issues that may delay your closing, as well as to identify and avoid problems (such as zoning issues) that might question lawful ownership after the closing. They’re also powerful negotiators to have on your side! With a closing date locked in, you will be able to plan your moving accordingly and keep everything on schedule. Need help staying organized while planning the move? Read our guide for a successful move!
“If you have never purchased a home, or feel uncomfortable with the process, it may be best to hire a lawyer for help. There are also times when a residential real estate transaction begins easily, but disputes arise during the process. Never settle for less than what you want during real estate transactions. The process should be fair and equitable for both seller and buyer. Do not hesitate to contact a real estate attorney before, during, or after the transaction process.” Courthouse Direct
Handling the Legal Aspects of Buying a Home without a Lawyer is Not Advisable…
Being Tricked or Conned: We’ve all heard horror stories of people attempting to cut corners on things with the goal of saving money – only to end up falling into greater depths due to their decision not to seek professional help. There have even been cases of individuals losing a great deal of money due to con artists tricking them into signing away for much more than they bargained for. Or being convinced to buy a property without a home inspection first. These unfortunate situations happen very often when people don’t hire a real estate attorney for guidance.
“You purchase a home without hiring an attorney, and let’s just say, for instance, that a tax lien goes undiscovered. You’re now the owner of the home and on the hook for several thousand dollars in old tax debt, and you risk possible foreclosure. That’s a very big, very expensive headache, and now you’re definitely going to need a lawyer to sort it out.” Realtor.com
Thinking You Can Do It Yourself: From selling homes to buying them on their own, sometimes people think: “How hard can it be? We should be able to do this ourselves or hire a friend.” Just because a friend or relative studies law, that doesn’t mean they’re equipped to practice all areas of law. Real estate law has many nuances – as stated before, each state has different laws, regional requirements, and county codes. Furthermore your buddy from college who practices business law may not be versed enough to guide you through the heavily documented process of a real estate closing and all the legal jargon.
“Some real estate transactions are complex and can benefit from the negotiation, management, and review of a lawyer. When purchasing properties, complications can arise that leave the buyer unsure about what to do next. If a real estate purchase is not simply cut and dry, hire a lawyer for guidance. Transactions including problems with titles, disclosure, mineral or surface rights, and tax concerns can all lead to the need for a real estate lawyer. If there is ever a discrepancy during the transaction, it may be in your best interest to hire help. Real estate transactions are expensive, and if mishandled, can result in decades of problems for the buyer.” Courthouse Direct
Complex Real Estate Situations: There are hundreds of documents that require reviewing and signatures. People can find this part of the process tiresome. When a lawyer isn’t involved, you may even be tempted to just glance over details and sign away just to speed up the process. This may cause you a multitude of problems down the road. They may even be irreversible if you sign them before acquiring the proper attorney! A good rule of thumb: if you do not understand a document you are reading, DO NOT sign it and have your attorney review it immediately! That’s what lawyers are here for!
“A common question I get from prospective clients is, “I signed a contract, and I want to get out of it. What can you do for me?” Or, “A court entered a judgment against me six months ago, and now I want it to go away. What can I do to avoid paying it?” A real estate attorney should have been involved before the problem came up, not after. This is simple reality—and it’s often ignored.” Realtor.com
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! There is a reason that some states actually require buyers and sellers to hire lawyers to be present. Real estate documents are complicated and binding. Real estate attorneys have spent years educating themselves about the dos and don’ts in the matters of the law…so we don’t have to. Avoid potential regrets and mistakes by equipping yourself with a trustworthy attorney that has your best interest in mind! Not sure where to start or what to ask your lawyer? Attorney Ben Weaver shares a few common questions that you may want to ask your attorney based on your situation. Read the important questions you should ask your attorney here!