Good morning Dwilli13,
It makes good sense to protect yourself with the single biggest purchase of your life by hiring an attorney who specializes in real estate transactions.
It is common here in New York to have an attorney represent the Buyer in a purchase transaction. I know elsewhere in the country this is not necessarily the case. Frankly, I canâ€™t understand how anyone could proceed with signing important legal documents without an attorney present to review and advise.
Here's a nightmare example of what can happen to a Buyer who doesn't have an attorney protecting her best interests. This is a story of an actual client I met:
A Buyer signed a contract to purchase an apartment without an attorney representing her. The Buyer is not the least bit qualified for the mortgage loan. There is no way possible this Buyer can obtain financing to purchase this apartment.
Normally, you might think, â€œWell, alright, Buyer makes application to the bank, is denied for the loan, presents the denial letter to the Seller and gets the downpayment back.â€ Seems simple enoughâ€”and very common, indeedâ€”but, not in this case.
The contract of sale has no mortgage contingency. And the Buyer put 10% of the purchase price down on signing.
If the Buyer had an attorney, at the very least the attorney would have made provision for a mortgage contingency in the contract. If the Seller refused to provide such a contingency, the attorney would have advised the Buyer of this deficit and the potential loss of downpayment. If the Buyer insisted on proceeding with the purchase minus the contingency, then an attorney could have advised the Buyer to be absolutely certain that mortgage financing was possible before signing the contract.
No attorney. No mortgage contingency. No mortgage loan approval. No way to get back the 10% downpayment.
Have your attorney on your â€œteamâ€ before you get out there shopping for a home. Your team of professionals should be at your disposal to advise you before you open up the paper to look at the â€œHomes For Saleâ€ ads or contact a Realtor to show you homes.
A good real estate attorney seeks to do two things in a purchase transaction:
1. Protect her client. This includes a review and revision of the contract of sale to remove any harmful language/requirements. Also a review of the title report to verify there are no obstructions to you, the Purchaser, receiving a good "clean" title at closing. Lastly, a thorough review and explanation of the closing documents.
2. Help the Purchaser accomplish the goal of homeownership. A good real estate attorney understands that buying a home is a happy time: someone's dream is about to come true! Thus, the adversarial nature of the contract transaction gets toned down to a matter of reasonable conversations betwen the Purchaser's and Seller's attorneys. This isn't a lawsuit or divorce case, so the good real estate attorney has to tone down the rhetoric and find reasonable compromises---while still protecting his client---so that the goal of the contract is achieved: a home purchase.
Hope that helps!