If you’re thinking about buying a home, you’re likely thinking about hiring a real estate agent to assist you through the process. What you probably didn’t think of, is hiring a real estate attorney to help you with the legal process. Real estate attorneys specialize in property-related matters from everyday transactions to dispute between parties. They’re not required at every transaction, so it’s best to ask your realtor if you need one, especially since it’s an additional cost you need to cover.

What Is Real Estate Law?

Before we delve into what the attorney does, let’s talk about real estate law. Real estate law oversees the purchase and sale of real property, which means land and anything attached to that land, such as buildings or other structures. Additionally, it includes anything that comes with that property, such as appliances or fixtures. Real estate law does not include personal property or someone’s personal possessions, only real property. When a real estate attorney gets involved with a transaction, they ensure the proper procedures during the acquisition of the property, as well as what can be done with that property by the buyers. Real estate law varies by state, so attorneys have to be licensed in their individual state as well as being up to date on any changes that affect transactions that happen locally or in their state.

What Do They Do?

At their core, real estate attorneys prepare and review documents relating to real estate. This can include purchase agreements, mortgage documents, title documents, and transfer documents in addition to often handling closings. The real estate attorney will also provide legal guidance relating to the purchase or sale of a property such as ensuring that the transfer is legal, binding, and in the best interest of their client. Real estate attorneys also work to resolve problems that may pop up during the process, such as chain of title, or other issues involving contracts. Real estate attorneys obtain facts from both sides of the dispute and try to come to a resolution that works for everyone involved. 

Qualifications

In order to become a real estate attorney, one must first earn an undergraduate degree, and then pass the Law School Admissions Test so they can be considered for acceptance to law school. They must then earn a law degree, which typically takes three years. After law school, they must pass the bar exam in order to begin practicing. 

When To Hire A Real Estate Lawyer

Depending on the state you’re in, you’ll require a real estate attorney during any real estate transaction. Attorney states include Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., 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. If you don’t live in these states, hiring one is your decision. It costs more, but it can be an invaluable service.