Even though you are selling your home without a real estate agent, the assistance of a real estate professional is still needed at various steps in the home selling process. The requirement of a real estate attorney depends on the laws in your state. Even if you live in a state where a real estate attorney is not needed, as a for sale by owner seller, it will still be beneficial for you to use one.
A real estate attorney can serve many purposes in the housing transaction. When you hire an attorney that specialized in real estate, that attorney is responsible for seeing that your best interests are met in the housing transaction. A real estate attorney can act as the escrow agent by holding down payments, documentation, and earnest money deposits. Not only that, the attorney can help you decipher and evaluate complicated offers you might receive from a buyer. In the event that the lender’s attorney does not handle the closing, your real estate attorney will host and handle the closing. If the lender’s attorney does handle the closing, then your real attorney will represent you in the process.
Your primary concern should be to find a real estate attorney that will provide you with assistance you need in the housing transaction. You can use a local or internet directory to find the names of some attorneys in your area. Asking friends or family who have recently sold homes for references is another way that you can find an attorney to assist you. If there are neighbors with “for sale” signs in their yards, you can casually inquire about the real estate attorney they are using. Hiring an attorney that comes as a reference is often better than cold calling attorneys.
As you look for a real estate attorney to hire, you should choose one that works primarily with real estate transactions. Avoid choosing a criminal or family law attorney that handles real estate transaction on the side. Your interests will not be best served by an attorney that does not spend a significant part of his or her time in real estate transactions. Certainly do not hire an attorney that has never worked in real estate.
Along with experience in real estate transactions, price will be the other factor you use to choose a real estate attorney. The attorney you hire will have two major responsibilities: reading and advising you on documents and representing you at closing. Get a price quote from prospective real estate attorneys on those two tasks. You can get a discount from the attorney by letting him or her know that you will be preparing and filling out some of the documentation. Shop around among several real estate attorneys to get a feel for experience level and price charged.
The most important thing is that you have a real estate professional available to assist you through the transaction. Even if you have successfully sold a for sale by owner home before, it is better to have legal assistance than to attempt to complete the process on your own.