Home Buying in Montclair>Question Details

Oaklandish, Home Buyer in Chicago, IL

Do you need a lawyer to buy a home?

Asked by Oaklandish, Chicago, IL Tue Apr 9, 2013

Help the community by answering this question:


Since this question appeared in Oakland CA --- presumably you're interested in the Montclair Area of Oakland CA and not Montclair in NJ?

Using an attorney for your real estate transaction can be a personal choice. However, where we are in Montclair (Oakland) and for most of the Bay area, the majority of transactions are done using title companies and their very capable escrow officers. Of course, one should prepare to review a ton of disclosures for one's own protection, and to also prepare to negotiate on complying with local ordinances such as testing/replacing sewer lateral line which can be a high-ticket expense.

Whom you will need is a realtor to help you find a suitable home, guide you through writing a strong offer to compete in this seller's market, explain the various disclosures and compliance with local ordinances, and who will keep helping you if your offer is not selected this time, or the next.

Montclair is such a desirable part of Oakland that the demand is extremely high for properties which don't stay long on the market. And most listings receive multiple offers at over list price.

Let me know how I may help.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 3, 2013

Good question. Every state handles real estate transactions a bit differently. In some states real estate lawyers are part of the process and handle legal disclosures and terms. I grew up in NJ and all real estate transactions in the tri state area utilize real estate lawyers in the transaction. The same in Illinois.

Here in CA, all of the legal disclosures are actually provided by the seller with the assistance of a Realtor. Title and escrow are also handled without a lawyer.

That being said you are always welcomed and actually encouraged to seek legal advice if you have any questions about the paperwork/transaction.

Hope that helps!

Lisa Cartolano
DRE 01715440
Alain Pinel Realtors
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 9, 2013
actually, not all transactions in the state of NJ use attorneys. The southern part of the state traditionally uses the title company to handle everything.
Flag Tue Apr 9, 2013
Why a lawyer why not a realtor?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 14, 2014
I am looking for a lawyer to buy a home. I have run a couple problems with looking into a home that I want. I just want to make sure that I have what I need and am not getting scammed. http://www.woodgatelawyers.com.au/conveyancing-services
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 31, 2014
Just to add my 2 cents - I have no idea why a mortgage rep from Texas feels the need to jump in and offer his services when you asked about hiring (or not) an ATTORNEY in NJ!
His repsonse has absolutely nothing to do with your question!

But, since that door was opened, allow me to walk through it.

In my opinion, there is no reason anyone should consider a stranger thousands of miles away when there are many reputable local mortgage reps who can sit down with you, face to face, in person, and walk you thought the process step by step.

Most larger companies offer in-house loan officers who can offer you a variety of services and loan options........not to mention, your agent can certainly suggest other names of tried and true loan officers to work with.

Best wishes..........
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 9, 2013
Hi, Debbie

I think the buyer was referring to Montclair --- an area in Oakland CA -- which is why this appeared in Oakland CA. Here, we don't really need an attorney since most of the closing is done in Title Companies.
Hope all is well with you.
Flag Wed Jul 3, 2013
Well, since I am the only NJ based agent here so far, let me answer this for you....that is, if you're referring to Montclair, NJ!

In the northern part of the state, unlike the southern part where they use the title company for their closings, we do use attorneys to handle our closings. They begin by handling the attorney review period once the contracts are signed by all parties. They also get involved in clarifying the home inspection issues...... right up to the actual closing.
The closing usually takes place at the buyer's attorney's office.

Now, with all of that being said, you will be asked to sign a form called "Opinion 26". This form states that as agents we cannot give you legal advice, and it recommends that you use an attorney for representation.

While is it recommended......it is not mandated, so the ultimate decision is yours.
Know that most likely, the sellers will have their own attorney..........you really should, too.
That is what is customary and usual here.

Hope this clarifies it for you.

Best wishes with your purchase and welcome to NJ!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 9, 2013
No, though a lawyer can be useful.

In some areas of the country (as I understand it, the New York metro area, for instance), lawyers are almost always involved in the process. In other areas of the country, they very rarely are. If you feel more comfortable having a lawyer review the documents, by all means do so. And if there's anything particularly odd or unusual about the transaction, you definitely should.

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 9, 2013
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2015 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer