Selling a home or commercial space comes with a lot of legal implications. As a seller, you’re likely hoping to complete the sale with minimal legal trouble — and wondering whether you need a lawyer’s help to do so.

A real estate lawyer can help you take the right steps to protect your interests during the sale. They can reduce the risk of a property dispute and deal with any legal issues that do occur. Even if you’re not required to have a real estate lawyer present for your closing, there are some situations where a lawyer can help.

Reasons To Hire a Real Estate Lawyer As a Seller

seller who needs a real estate lawyerYou Have an Uncooperative Co-owner

Selling a property gets a lot more complicated when your co-owner doesn’t want to sell. We often see tricky situations when a divorced couple or deceased person’s heirs can’t agree on whether to sell their home.

You’re Selling For a Deceased Owner

If one of your loved ones recently passed away, you may have some complicated legal and tax-related matters to deal with. With or without a will, your family will probably need to deal with the probate process to check whether a will is valid, appoint an executor, and distribute the deceased person’s assets.

A real estate attorney can help your family handle the taxes, beneficiaries, and creditors on time based on local legal requirements. They can also help you check that you have the legal authority to sell the property.

Your Property Is In Financial Distress

Even the most capable, well-meaning real estate agents are not always aware of the legal intricacies of short sales, foreclosures, property tax issues, or liens on a property. Once the sale is over, the real estate agent’s job is done, but you may still have issues to manage. Lenders could still file a deficiency judgment against you, and you may have sale-related changes to your taxes as well.

A real estate attorney can help you avoid legal trouble during and after your short sale. They can represent you if there are any complicated issues to handle.

You’re Selling the Property Yourself

As a seller taking the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) route, you have more control over your sale and can save money on real estate agent fees. Unfortunately, you’re also on the hook for more of the work involved in the transaction. If you’re selling to a buyer without an agent and aren’t comfortable drafting a legal contract on your own, it makes sense to consult a lawyer.

Choosing a Real Estate Lawyer

Real estate lawyer and client trusting each other

Once you’ve decided to bring in legal expertise, you need to choose a real estate attorney. While that decision may seem daunting, it helps to have questions prepared to determine if a lawyer is a good fit for your circumstances. 

The five questions listed below are a great starting point. However, please don’t feel limited to this list, as it’s important to ask questions based on your personal situation.

1. How Long Have You Been Practicing Real Estate Law?

Experience is gold in real estate legal matters. You want to make sure your real estate attorney knows the ins and outs of the industry and is prepared for the issues that could arise. This is a good time to find out what portion of their practice is devoted to real estate cases and whether they have handled cases similar to yours in the past.

2. What Is Your Plan Of Action?

If the real estate attorney has worked on similar situations to yours, they should have a general plan of attack for handling your case. This plan should be brief but detailed, easy to understand, and not just a vague assurance that they will take care of things.

3. What Are Your Fees?

It is always a good idea to inquire about fees before signing yourself up to work with a real estate lawyer. The answer will both prepare you for the added expense in your budget and give you information on what services the fees include.

4. Will Anyone Else Be Working On My Case?

In a large transaction such as a property sale, you need to make sure you’re comfortable with all the people helping you. You need a legal team you can trust to protect your information and be there to help if concerns arise. Before you commit to a real estate attorney, it’s a good idea to ask if anyone else will be working on your case so you can meet them first.

5. Can You Provide References?

If a real estate attorney is willing to provide you with references, that’s a good reassurance that they are confident with their reputation. Speaking with someone who has actually worked one-on-one with the attorney can also help you understand what to expect.

Real estate lawyers have the knowledge and experience to help protect you during a real estate transaction. They’re also legally obligated to protect your best interests. This added layer of protection could save you a lot of frustration and money, especially during a large real estate transaction.

Need a Real Estate Lawyer in Everett, WA?

The Anderson Hunter Law Firm has been helping our local community with real estate disputes and other legal matters for over a century. If you need an experienced, well-qualified real estate attorney to help with your sale, contact us today.

 

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