Hope that helps
I highly advise having a lawyer for real estate purchases in MA,period and ESPECIALLY on an REO or short sale ... the earlier in the game they are involved, the more help and protection they give you ... like helping you put together (or at least explain) a P&S that best protects you. And, of course, to research the title so that you are assured that everything that you are purchasing is totally clean (and therefore, you're not inheriting any problems that you didn't already know about.)
If you're financing, then your lender would have about as much interest as you in having clear title for the most part ... and in Massachusetts you have the right to select the closing attorney. Were you offered this option?
If you're paying cash ... who is doing the title search for you?
The bottom line is that someone needs to be doing all the necessary "background checks" for the house, condition of title, liens ... etc ... someone not on the selling side (even your lender's attorney would be better than working with the seller's attorney).
Ideally, you want an attorney who is representing your best interests and if you have any question or unknown about this property, it would be well worth your piece of mind to bring in an attorney to make sure that something wasn't overlooked ... even at this late date. You may end up risking your deposit, but I assume that is only a mere fraction of what you'd be putting down for the purchase. So, better late than buying into a mistake.
Best of luck.
Good Luck with your purchase. I am a real estate attorney and yes it sounds self serving but yes you should obtain counsel. The Seller will be represented, the bank will be represented and you will be on your own. There are several ugly clauses if things go badly, you can always use someone on your side. A Buyer's attorney is often inexpensive especially if you have them also represent your lender. If you want feel free to give me a call or email at 508-969-9988 or email@example.com. I do not charge until after we speak and you decide to formally hire me. Do not hire anyone who works hourly or will charge you for merely talking to you about getting hired. Best Wishes - Andrew