Home Buying in Seattle>Question Details

Lookingatsea…, Other/Just Looking in Seattle, WA

Do you need a lawyer to buy a home?

Asked by Lookingatseattle, Seattle, WA Thu May 16, 2013

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Ray Akers’ answer
The short answer is; no a lawyer is not needed to purchase a home in Washington State. Whether or not you consult with a lawyer during the purchase of a home is entirely up to you. I always recommend that my clients have their purchase agreement reviewed by a lawyer who specializes in real estate ---and is familiar with the NWMLS documents. The reality is, most sales close without any involvement by lawyers. That's mostly due to the evolution of our NWMLS forms, which are very comprehensive.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 16, 2013
I think it is mandatory to engage a lawyer if you are buying a For Sale By Owner home. But if you are buying with the help of a qualified and experienced Realtor, you do not need to get a lawyer involved in 99.9% of the transactions. Mary
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu May 16, 2013
Ron, most lawyers would say just the opposite. Being both I would tend to agree with the lawyers. Most real estate agents don't have a clue what the legal issues are in most transactions, particularly up here in Washington where our continuing education is often taught by people who don't know the subject they are teaching.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 4, 2013
You hire a Lawyer to solve problems.
You enlist a Realtor to prevent them.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 4, 2013
Good response from Mary and Jerry.
FSBO, auction, optioned, assigned, some flips, simultaineious and bank owned are also situations where an attorney will prove essential.
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Here in FLoirda tille companies facilitate the purchase and sale of most real estate. Those choosing to use an attorney are electing to subsititute 'attorney time' to replace any of the dates on the contract. Add that time disregard to that attitude of the 'Too Big To Care" banks and you've created a real convulted mess with too many cooks in the kitchen.
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Now, all of this must be taken in light of your situation. What will be the structure of the ownership of the sller? What will be the structure of your ownership? The answer to these questions dictate the level of oversight needed by an attorny, finanacial adviser and your accountant. 1031 exchange to LLC all impose special requirements. The professionals you work with will be able to advise who needs to be invited aboard.
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Real estate is a very fluid business, not well suited to YES or NO responses.

Best of success to you,
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Remax Realtec Group
Palm Harbor, FL
727.420.4041
http://RealEstateMadeEZ.us
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 17, 2013
Ray, I would say the lack of more attorney involvement is due to people being cheap! ;-)

Seriously, I would say that the need for attorney involvement is more likely due to non-forms issues. There may be zoning concerns or concerns over the meaning of CCRs or easements.

Below I said sellers were more likely to need attorney review. What I was thinking there is they might have tax issues or disclosure (Form 17) concerns.

That said, agent errors on forms can keep the contract from being a binding contract, so a buyer having an attorney review the contract might prevent a seller from backing out. That hasn't been that much of a concern in the past, but in this market you never know. Better offers do come in from time to time. The WR Legal Hotline question from 5/7/13 involves a situation where the seller was trying to back out on a forms issue.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 17, 2013
Nope, an agent can facilitate your sale AND do something attorneys can't - guide you on what fair market value is and what terms are the norm in this market.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 16, 2013
It's never a bad idea, but in general there are probably more issues for sellers than buyers that might need attorney review.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 16, 2013
The purchase and sale agreement used by the NWMLS in Washington State clearly states that you should have an attorney review the contract.

That said, if you work with an agent with whom you trust, you should feel comfortable in knowing your agent is advocating for your benefit and you might opt to forgo the added cost of an attorney review.

Please let me know if you have any questions, my answers are free and I am never too busy to help! Contact me directly 206-501-7837 or phoebe@SheSellsSeattle.com; you can view all available listings int the Seattle area at http://www.SheSellsSeattle.com

Phoebe
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 16, 2013
Need a lawyer, no. Recommended to have a lawyer, couldn't hurt. A REALTOR can help you through most of the process in obtaining a property, but a lawyer can go over your contracts more thoroughly.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 16, 2013
No ....but wouldnt be a bad idea to pay a few dollars for a real estate attorny to review things ( especially if you havent gone thru process before and if you dont have a realtor working for you )
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 16, 2013
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