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Step 6 - Pick a Real Estate Attorney

February 2, 2024

Step 6 - Pick a Real Estate Attorney

Now that we've begun the process of finding homes for you, it's important to decide if you will retain a Real Estate Attorney to represent you in the transaction. While having legal representation isn't mandatory in southern New Jersey or Pennsylvania, as a real estate agent, I cannot give you legal advice. If the seller decides to retain an attorney, you will want to consider hiring an attorney to represent you as well. Even though some buyers may initially express reluctance to have an attorney represent them, we strongly recommend it, as the best outcome is a smooth transaction with no issues. However, it's common for there to be at least one challenge in every deal, some of which can be quite complex, which is why having a good real estate attorney on your side is crucial. It's essentially an insurance policy in case things don't go as planned. This is also why we advise hiring a REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY, as opposed to someone like Uncle Bob who practices family law. No offense to Uncle Bob, but real estate law is very specific, and it's best to have someone represent you who is deeply familiar with the intricacies of the law.

Here is what an attorney will do for you:

  1. Review the contract and negotiate any change with the seller’s attorney during attorney review. If there are no attorneys involved, then the standard state contract goes into full effect after the attorney review period ends.
  2. Assist with the negotiation of any inspection issues
  3. Help you further understand the contract and make sure your interests are protected
  4. Help you decide how to take title
  5. Make sure the title is clear - the title company also ensures you receive a clear title
  6. File extension requests (inspection, attorney review, mortgage, etc.) as needed
  7. Work with your lender to ensure a timely loan commitment
  8. Closely review the settlement statement (ALTA/CD) including any taxes owed, adjustments, closing cost credits, etc. before closing
  9. Prepare all legal documents
  10. Schedule the closing
  11. Conduct the closing at a title company or attorney's office and explain all of the documents to you as you sign them
  12. Ensure title insurance is in order

The above list is IF everything goes perfectly. If it doesn’t and the contract needs to be canceled, the earnest money needs to be refunded, etc. The attorney will handle these items as well.  This is why it’s crucial to have a good Real Estate attorney as part of your team.

How much does the attorney cost?

Typically a real estate attorney charges between $950 – $1,500. Some require a retainer, while others collect their fee at closing.  Some attorneys may charge you even if the transaction is canceled. 

Be sure to ask me for a list of recommended real estate attorneys. Once you receive the list, I recommend calling a few of them and following up with an email. Find out their current fee. Once you’ve picked an attorney, please let us know.  This should be done WHILE we are house hunting. That way you know who your attorney is going to be once we are ready to put an offer in on a property. Once I have a signed contract, I will send your attorney a copy for their review.  It’s all about putting together a great team which consists of your REALTOR® (with The Quarterman Group powered by Compass), your mortgage lender, your attorney, and your home inspector.

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