Buying a new home or business space is often exciting, but the legal aspects can be fairly complex. As a property buyer, you may be wondering if you should hire a real estate attorney to help you through the process.

Reasons To Hire a Real Estate Attorney As a Buyer

Real Estate Attorney

Some states require you to have a real estate lawyer present during all property transactions, but others don’t. If you’re buying property in the Everett area or elsewhere in Washington State, you are not required to have a lawyer.

However, it still makes sense to hire a real estate attorney if you’re buying one of the property types below — even if it’s not technically required.

You’re Buying Property As an Investment

As a real estate investor, you are likely buying the property with the intent to rent it out. A real estate attorney can help you draft a legally sound lease agreement that makes everyone’s obligations clear. They can also help you deal with any property defects or disputes in situations that involve a renter.

You’re Buying a Short Sale, Bank-Owned, Foreclosure, or Estate Sale Property

If you’re buying property as part of a special type of sale, it’s usually in your best interest to hire a real estate attorney. These transactions often aren’t as straightforward as standard property sales. A lawyer can help you deal with any complications that relate to these less typical situations.

You’re Buying For Sale By Owner Property

For sale by owner (FSBO) transactions sometimes have some quirks. In a hot market, owners are more likely to ask buyers to waive certain rights, such as the right to inspections that will disclose property damage. If you’re buying an FSBO property, you may want a lawyer to help you review the terms of the contract and protect you from very costly mistakes.

The Property May Have Structural Issues

When you’re buying a property, there’s always a chance that it has hidden structural issues, like a cracked foundation or water damage in a non-obvious place. Ideally, you and the seller can work out these issues in your contract before closing, but it’s easy to make expensive mistakes if you’re not familiar with real estate law. In some cases, you may not even find out about the issue until after the sale.

A real estate attorney can help protect your interests if you’re buying a property that may not be in the best condition. They can help you negotiate with the seller to get repair work done before closing or have the seller pay for the repair costs. If you learned about the damage after the sale, a lawyer can help you determine if you have a legal claim against the seller.

The Property Is In a Flood or Natural Disaster Zone

Properties that are at high risk of flooding or natural disasters are more likely to have structural damage. If you’re planning to buy a property in a natural disaster zone, it makes sense to hire a real estate attorney for all the reasons we mentioned above.

You’re Buying a Commercial Property

Buying a commercial property comes with different legal implications from buying a home. A real estate attorney can help you draw a sale contract that protects your interests and takes into account factors like zoning laws. They can also inform you about potential issues that may affect commercial operations down the road, like environmental and structural issues.

Real Estate Attorney Costs in Everett, WA

Real Estate Attorney

Real estate attorneys in Everett and the Greater Puget Sound area typically charge about $150-600 per hour, depending on their experience and their firm’s reputation. Typical home closings usually cost $750-2,000. However, the final amount you’ll be billed for depends on the service and the attorney’s fee structure.

Fee Structures

There are two main ways for a real estate attorney to charge for their services: an hourly rate or a fixed fee. If the attorney charges by the hour, you’ll pay fees based on the amount of time they spend working on the case. If they charge a fixed fee, you’ll pay the same amount no matter how many hours they work.

Flat fees are most common in situations where the attorney can easily estimate their time, such as sale document preparations or title searches. If you end up in a difficult dispute and need representation in court, you’re more likely to see fees charged by the hour.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

Real estate transactions and legal issues tend to involve large amounts of money. If you have any reason to think there could be issues with the property or sale, it’s more than worth it to consult with a real estate attorney. The right legal advice may help you avoid problems that would have cost tens of thousands of dollars or more.

Need a Real Estate Attorney in Everett, WA?

At the Anderson Hunter Law Firm, we’re dedicated to helping people with legal matters throughout Everett and the surrounding area. We have several experienced real estate attorneys on staff.

Looking for a lawyer who can help with the legal aspects of your home purchase? Contact us today.

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