The biggest purchase of anyone’s lifetime is usually the purchase of a home. Many home buyers turn to an experienced and qualified real estate agent to help them through the process. An attorney also offers invaluable knowledge and assistance, and for that reason, most states also require a real estate attorney to be included in the real estate transaction. Although Texas is not one of those states, working with an experienced real estate attorney facilitates the conveyance of property in many important ways even though it may not be a requirement.
An experienced real estate attorney will have strong professional relationships which can help the buyer. Having connections with a good title company and escrow agent is one less worry for a buyer in what may be a stressful process. Some Texas Realtors may discourage home buyers from using a lawyer, fearful of changes to a contract which may jeopardize the transaction and/or endanger the Realtor’s commission. However, a retained lawyer acts in the best interest of the buyer and provides important services that a realtor cannot.
Earnest Money Contracts
Early in the process, an attorney can provide a thorough understanding of the sometimes complicated legal vocabulary and paperwork. Unlike real estate agents, Texas lawyers are permitted to make changes and draft custom language to the standard TREC contract forms. This provides a unique advantage to the lawyer’s client in a real estate transaction. A real estate lawyer can also provide peace of mind by ensuring that the buyer is not taken advantage of. Should the seller want to back out of a contract or make additional demands of the buyer, the advice of an attorney will help a buyer navigate and resolve those situations.
Buyers are often confused and perhaps even overwhelmed when reading a title commitment. An experienced real estate attorney fully understands all the legal ramifications of title, especially helpful if there is an issue which clouds title. If, for example, the name of a divorced spouse of the seller still appears on the title, that title needs to be cleared before closing. Unlike a realtor, an attorney can identify and help resolve title issues as quickly as possible to keep the deal from falling through.
An attorney will also closely review any charges on the settlement statement and deed restrictions which might affect the buyer. Having a professional who can review important concerns such as the HUD/CD and the warranty deed helps protect the buyer. Buyers may not be aware of a problem with the transaction until they receive notification about back taxes or try to sell the property and discover that the title is not clear.
Working with an experienced real estate lawyer usually saves much more money than it costs since a lawyer can prevent and/or quickly remedy potentially costly, time-consuming issues. Given the size of the purchase, working with a real estate attorney is a good investment.
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