Buying or selling real estate is not only one of the largest financial transactions most people will ever make, it may also be one of the most complex. Several areas of law can be involved in a real estate deal, making the assistance of an attorney in our legal insurance plan attorney network an invaluable resource

Because the coverage included in your company’s or organization’s U.S. Legal Services legal insurance plan may vary, please check with your group’s administrator for specific benefit details.

How an Attorney Can Help

Real estate agents are trained to handle most aspects of a home purchase, but they cannot offer legal advice. Every state has its own requirements for which types of professionals should be involved in a transaction, and most states do not require you to work with an attorney. There are, however, some circumstances in which a residential real estate legal professional can play an important role. These may include such issues as ensuring that improvements on the property were built according to code, reviewing potential encroachments on neighboring or public property, and planning for contingencies should an inspection find serious issues with plumbing, the foundation, mold, etc.

Attorneys can assist with these transaction aspects and more:

Documents: To avoid problems at or after closing on your property, an attorney can review documents to ensure that there are no errors, such as an incorrect legal description of the property. Documents may include the title, title insurance, the deed, mortgage loan documents, and the land survey. The bill of sale should also be reviewed, as it details the personal property that is or is not included in the transaction.

Litigation: Not every real estate sale or purchase goes exactly as planned, and it’s not uncommon for some transactions to lead to a lawsuit. If your transaction doesn’t work out, an attorney can represent you in real estate litigation.

Foreclosures: The foreclosure process can be very complex as it may involve renegotiating a loan or negotiating a settlement agreement. A real estate attorney can help borrowers manage the financial and legal aspects of foreclosure proceedings.

FSBO sales or purchases: Every real estate transaction is, in part, a legal transaction. If you choose to handle a for-sale-by-owner transaction rather than working with a real estate agent, it’s especially important to have a legal professional ensure that you’re satisfying all of the legal requirements that a real estate deal may entail.

Consult with a Network Attorney

You can successfully handle the sale or purchase of property without the personal representation of an attorney, but having an experienced legal professional looking out for your best interests can help ensure a trouble-free transaction. U.S. Legal Services makes having an attorney on your side affordable and accessible, so consider consulting a network attorney the next time you’re planning to buy or sell real estate.

This information is provided for educational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice. Each situation and matter is unique and should be discussed with a U.S. Legal Services network attorney.