When is the time to consult with an attorney when you are buying a home or commercial property? The answer: Before you sign the Purchase Agreement. Many people don’t understand that the terms of the Purchase Agreement should be negotiated. What are the conditions that must be met before the sale can be consummated? What assumptions are the parties making – should they be outlined in the Seller’s representations and warranties? In most situations, at a minimum you must have financing and should have a thorough inspection of the premises by a professional as preconditions to completing the purchase. How much time is needed? What is the procedure for negotiating repairs and/or a reduction in the price? Under what circumstances do you forfeit your deposit? All of these issues must be determined before you sign the Purchase Agreement.
Once the Purchase Agreement is executed, what does a real estate attorney do for you? They will review the title company’s work and read the real estate documents filed with the County which affect the property. They will determine if there are valid liens against the property and determine how they can be discharged. They review surveys to determine easements and how they affect the property.
Should your attorney attend the closing? It depends on whether the necessary documents are available for review prior to the closing. A lawyer can review all of the documentation (again, before you sign) to make sure that the terms of the agreement are accurately reflected in the documents. A lawyer will review the tax pro-rations to determine a fair apportionment. Your lawyer can draft any necessary documentation to handle any unforeseen circumstances which may arise at the closing if present.
Common real estate transactions and issues also include leaseholds, refinancing, determining the proper entity to hold title to the property, property tax assessments, and nuisances.