Whether you are buying a home or selling one, having a real estate lawyer review your contract is crucial. Says Wade Kricken Real property laws can be complicated and confusing, which is why it is important to have an attorney on your side. In this article we will discuss some reasons why hiring an attorney before closing on your next property purchase is always the best option for you and your family.
You are buying a home and have recently signed the contract. In your haste to close on your new home, you think to yourself that there is no need to hire an attorney as your mortgage company will take care of everything, right?
As you can see, there are many reasons why you should have a real estate lawyer review your contract before it is signed. If you are buying a home and have recently signed the contract, in your haste to close on your new home, you think to yourself that there is no need to hire an attorney as your mortgage company will take care of everything.
This is true only if there are no issues with the contract or if they can be resolved by contacting the seller’s agent or broker. If there are issues that cannot be resolved by contacting the seller’s agent or broker (or if they refuse) then hiring an attorney may be necessary.
What happens if the home you just purchased has faulty wiring or an illegal basement-rent unit? Can you really rely on the seller’s disclosure statement to be accurate?
The seller’s disclosure statement is not a warranty, guarantee or promise. It is merely an optional disclosure that the seller has provided to you. The seller can decide what to disclose, and there are no penalties for failing to make certain disclosures.
So, if you buy a home and discover that it has faulty wiring or an illegal basement-rent unit (and many other problems), can you really rely on the seller’s disclosure statement? There are many situations where the answer is “no.” That’s why having an experienced real estate lawyer review your contract from beginning to end is so important when buying a home—to ensure that all bases are covered by this vital piece of paperwork.
The seller does not sign the contract. What now?
If the seller does not sign your contract, you can sue them for breach of contract. If a non-signing seller is found responsible for the failure to close on time and loses, they will be required to pay all costs associated with the delay including attorney’s fees and interest.
If you cancel due to a non-signing seller, you may have to refund their deposit. However, before doing so make sure that your contract has language allowing such action.
Your real estate agent mishandled your earnest money deposit. Will you get it back? Do you have any recourse against your real estate agent?
Real estate agents are not licensed professionals. They do not have any formal training, and they are not required to carry liability insurance or adhere to any professional standards of conduct. Furthermore, you cannot sue them for malpractice: there is no law that will protect you from an agent’s wrongdoing if he or she mishandles your contract or deposit while representing you in the buying or selling process.
This leads us back to our original question: how can lawyers help? In order for a real estate contract to be legally binding and enforceable by the courts, it must be drawn up by an attorney who understands all applicable laws and can ensure that both sides understand what they’re agreeing to sign on the dotted line.
The seller backs out at the last minute. Now what?
If your seller backs out at the last minute and you’re stuck with a property you don’t want, you have options. You can sue the seller for breach of contract, damages or specific performance (a court order requiring them to close on the sale). If you can prove that they made false statements intentionally or negligently (negligence is defined as not doing something they should have done), you could also get rescission—in other words, getting your money back from them.
If you are buying or selling a home, make sure to have a real estate lawyer review your contract. The last thing you want is to lose money or end up in litigation because of an oversight in the contract.