Perhaps you have always purchased and sold property without the help of an attorney, and so far so good. But even if you are told you do not need one, you may want to hire an attorney. An attorney’s fee for routine representation is a lot more reasonable than you think and if you are responsible for paying for the title insurance, a real estate attorney/title agent will usually include basic services as part of his/her normal title and settlement fees.
A real estate attorney can do the following:
1. Check the Fine Print. Many times the documents you receive are as thick as a phone book.
An attorney will take those documents apart and check every inch of it for inaccuracies. Too often buyers of homes in common interest developments like condominiums and townhouse projects don’t read and understand the Conditions, Covenants and Restrictions (CC&Rs) that cover their ownership interest. A real estate attorney who has experience with condominiums can point out the important elements of the CC&Rs, so you don’t find out later
that your ownership rights are restricted.
2. Make Sure It is Legal. A real estate attorney will know if it just won’t fly. A real estate agent can’t give legal advice unless he or she is also an attorney.
3. Check Title Issues. If there is anything in the title report you do not understand ask the title officer for an explanation. Talk to a real estate attorney if your questions are not answered to your satisfaction. Problems with a title issue can be disastrous and the cost of defending your property can be substantial. Often, attorneys will examine title to the property as part of the purchase transaction. Stay ahead of the game.
4. Give Legal Advice on Pending Litigations. Many condominium associations are involved in pending litigation, and an attorney’s opinion of the probable outcome will keep you from investigating in a losing proposition.
5. Ease Your Mind. If you have a decent amount of money at stake, you may want to protect your assets by bringing in a real estate attorney. The question is – who is watching out for your interest? If the sellers are unreasonable in their requests or they request something out of the ordinary, it is a good time to bring counsel.
Be sure to consult an attorney who specializes in real estate law.
Ask your real estate agent or your attorney to recommend someone who has expertise in real estate.
Gregory S. Gefen, Esq. is a real estate attorney with principal offices in Boca Raton, Florida. He has been admitted to the Florida Bar since 1991 and is a member of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Section of the Florida Bar.
Gregory S. Gefen, Esq.
Telephone: (561) 988-0088
Fax: (561) 988-0066
Zenith Professional Center
3010 N. Military Trail, Suite 210, Boca Raton, FL 33431