ATTORNEY FOCUSED ON YOUR LEGAL REPRESENTATION IN REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS
Buying and selling real estate is one of the most important and rewarding situations but also one of the most complicated decisions that one can enter, usually with significant financial implications. In any real estate deal, both Buyer and Seller must review multiple complex documents, including legally binding papers, requiring signatures. As you enter any deal of primary concern beyond the actual real estate itself is to ask; who is looking out for you? Who is explaining your responsibilities as you sign legal documents?
I frequently hear from Buyers and Sellers who feel the one factor missing in their transaction is the peace of mind of understanding what are the responsibilities and ramifications of their deal. They feel that no one has adequately advised them.
Real estate sales professionals can provide sales services but it is against the law for them to provide legal advice. While they are proficient in their field of sales, they are not equipped to guide in the particularities of contract law. Like any sales profession they are motivated by a commission. The same can be said about any non attorneys in the transaction (lenders,inspectors). While they may be well versed in their field, they cannot render legal advice, your legal responsibilities are not their concern.
LEGAL REPRESENATION IS NEEDED IF YOU CAN NOT ANSWER:
- What am I signing with a real estate sales person?
- What terms of your Agreement of Sale are negotiable and what are your obligations?
- What is a Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement, and when is it required?
- What is the new Good Faith Estimate and who is bound by the terms?
- Who holds deposit payment (escrow money) and how much is appropriate?
- What is a mortgage contingency and how does it affect a transaction?
- What is a home inspection contingency and how should it be modified?
- What is title insurance, a title commitment and title defects?
- What if there are environmental issues such as mold or termites?
- What happens in a termination of a transaction?
- What are liquidated damages?
- Who is looking at your legal interests in the review of your deal?
- Who is advising me on legal responsibilities?
THE LEGAL INSPECTION
The simple answer to all of the above is that without an attorney focused in real estate, reviewing and advising you in your deal, inspecting the legalities as they relate to you, no one is providing you a legal inspection. You need a thorough review of your legal responsibilities and how your deal is to take legal structure.
BEFORE YOU SIGN DOCUMENTS
There may be no more important decision in real estate, than at the start of the process, before you put your signature on any document, to have an attorney who focuses on real estate transactions, perform a legal inspection of your documentation; a review of your documents, addressing your questions, and giving you legal guidance through the entire process.
Of most importance is retaining a real estate attorney prior to signing an Agreement of Sale. The Agreement of Sale, once signed, is a legally binding contract. Pennsylvania does not allow either party the right to terminate a deal in a residential Agreement of Sale, based on the language of the document alone, after it has been signed. Therefore, it is crucial to have an attorney review all documents, to insure that you understand exactly what you are about to become legally bound to, before you enter a transaction. New Jersey is somewhat more consumer oriented with laws that allow for a brief attorney review period after the signing of a residential agreement. If invoked properly by an attorney licensed in New Jersey, one can terminate a transaction, for any reason, if said attorney does not approve of the language.
SO YOU ALREADY SIGNED WITHOUT PRIOR ATTORNEY REVIEW… NOW WHAT
While is preferable that I am retained prior to signing any documents, often I am retained in an advisory capacity as you move closer to settlement. I offer services to advise on all aspects of your transaction. Even after signing the Agreement of Sale, there are still many circumstances where legal advice will ease the process. Those steps include, review of inspection reports, mortgage documents, title commitments, and reviewing settlement documents.
ATTORNEY at SETTLEMENT
Even if you have not had representation at the start, or even during the time leading to settlement you may be seeking legal representation at the end of your deal at the closing table. Settlement is also a critical step in the real estate process and I am often retained to give the final documents, including most importantly the Uniform Settlement Sheet (HUD-1)the title commitment and the Deed, a legal review, to insure that as your transaction closes and your interests are protected.
CONTACT ME FOR A PERSONALIZED REVIEW
Attempting to review and prepare your own documents or hope that a real estate salesperson can advise you properly can put your deal in a precarious situation. Signing without an adequate legal inspection can risk your money or cause major delays in the deal, leading to stress and anxiety. I work with clients one- on-one but also have worked with many clients in their real estate transactions via telephone and e-mail without the need for in-person meetings. In either situation you will work with me, not an associate or paralegal. I represent both Buyers and Sellers who have retained brokers and real estate sales people , as well as those with no sales representation as well as FSBO’s(owners selling their own homes).
EXPERIENCED AND FOCUSED REAL ESTATE LEGAL REPRESENTATION
I have over two decades of legal experience and focus much of my legal practice in real estate. Many lawyers do not routinely handle real estate transactions however, a large part of my practice is this field. I stay current on legal developments that affect all transactional documents and general real estate matters so I am aware of what to look for in my legal inspection of your documents. My function as an attorney is to make your real estate transaction as simplified and stress-free as possible while insuring your interests are protected. My representation aims to remove the intimidation and complexities of real estate.
After reviewing your situation, my representation can be as narrow or as broad as necessary. I can represent you at any point of your deal and my fees are reasonably set at either an hourly or at a flat rate.
Please call me at 215-235-8494, or email me through my contact page. I offer a free initial telephone consultation to determine how I can best help you.