Do you really need a real estate lawyer when selling your home? That is a common question that many sellers have, and every state has its own rules and regulations. Your agent should be able to sort out these issues, but here are some instances when you might want the expertise of a lawyer when selling your older home.
Judgement or Liens
It’s critical to establish your right to sell your property through a title search. Some states don’t require title insurance, so it’s your attorney’s responsibility to determine if there are any judgments or liens on your home. This is particularly important when selling an older home that has changed hands many times over the years. Your lawyer will be able to find any legal restrictions that could prevent you from selling the estate.
Selling a Distressed Property
A real estate attorney’s job starts after you and your buyer have settled on a price and your agent has all the signed contracts in place. He will review your home’s inspection report and the contract itself to negotiate any needed restorations. Your lawyer will ensure any alterations or additions were done correctly and will protect your interests if it turns out your home needs substantial repairs.
The Owner is Deceased
Are you the beneficiary of a home from someone who is no longer with us? Your attorney will help you manage the transfer of the house in probate, as determined by your state’s laws, through what’s known as an executor’s deed. Without this legal step, the title to the property may become “clouded,” and you could have difficulty selling your late loved one’s home.
An Uncooperative Partner
Your lawyer’s mission is to negotiate with you and your partner so that all parties can come together peacefully, ensuring that the transaction is fair to both sides. A reluctant spouse who’s on the deed has the power to stymie the sale if your home wasn’t settled as an asset in your divorce.
When you sell your home, the impending income tax consequences may be significant. If you make a substantial profit on the property, you could end up with a considerable tax bill. A real estate attorney will offer you advice about any advantageous tax provisions that could exclude the cost of capital gains in some instances.
Your State Requires an Attorney
Many states require you to hire an attorney when selling your home. These states include Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. Even if your state doesn’t require you to hire an attorney, having a professional on your side will protect your rights during this monumental transaction.
If any of these circumstances apply to you, then hiring an attorney to guide you through the sale’s process is a sensible decision. Many real estate legal distinctions aren’t addressed under general contract law, so an experienced local real estate lawyer who is familiar with the area’s requirements is usually the best choice.