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Hire an Attorney to Review Real Estate Contracts?
Old 03-17-2016, 02:30 PM   #1
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Hire an Attorney to Review Real Estate Contracts?

As I move onward in my efforts to sell my home, I've decided to hire a real estate agent. However, I'm wondering if it would be worthwhile to have an attorney review any and all contracts - starting with the one with the agent.

I don't have an attorney that I regularly use, so I'd need to beat the bushes to find one competent in real estate.

Thoughts, anecdotes, rants?
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Old 03-17-2016, 02:33 PM   #2
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well he/she may try and rewrite the "stock" contract that realtors use - at least mine did - I have him look at all of my real estate deals


go on your nextdoor site and ask for a reference?
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Old 03-17-2016, 02:42 PM   #3
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If you intend to sell on a real estate contract and accept installment payments from a buyer, I would definitley have a real estate atty. specialist draw it up. Too may pitfalls and each state is different.
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Old 03-17-2016, 02:51 PM   #4
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Agreed - I'm working on a cash deal right now so having an atty look at it isn't that important.


Just got a "last best and final" offer.....
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Old 03-17-2016, 02:53 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by travelover View Post
As I move onward in my efforts to sell my home, I've decided to hire a real estate agent. However, I'm wondering if it would be worthwhile to have an attorney review any and all contracts - starting with the one with the agent.

I don't have an attorney that I regularly use, so I'd need to beat the bushes to find one competent in real estate.

Thoughts, anecdotes, rants?
Depends on the state. Some, life Fl, have standardized contracts to buy and sell homes between consumers, so an attorney isn't necessary. Others, like Illinois and NY, require an attorney. They are specialized and typically charge a fixed fee that is pretty much the same for that area. Your realtor can give you a list of 3 or 4 to choose among.

I have one very good experience, one quite bad, and the most recent where the attorney made a math error, shortchanging the buyer's realtor, which I later found and corrected.
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Old 03-17-2016, 03:53 PM   #6
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I have one very good experience, one quite bad, and the most recent where the attorney made a math error, shortchanging the buyer's realtor, which I later found and corrected.
While not universally true, I have found for lawyers in general, math is not their strongest skill. They are primarily word people. I generally check the math on all real estate documents regardless who prepares but double check the lawyer's work unless I know from prior experience they are detail oriented.
Just sayin
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Old 03-17-2016, 03:54 PM   #7
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Most of the RE contracts are already drawn up by attorneys anyway (usually on the Realtor board of the state), so it's kind of pointless. BUT..I have seen two commonly used contracts here in Georgia; one is very inclusive and a good one, the other not so much. As an example..the not so good one lacks the "good and marketable title" that the seller is required to provide at closing and it also doesn't have a "liquidated damages" clause in the earnest money section...which really has become boilerplate language in almost ALL contracts that have some sort of deposit included. So...your mileage may vary according to state and broker.
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Old 03-17-2016, 04:10 PM   #8
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For what it is worth, I'm in Michigan.
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Old 03-17-2016, 04:58 PM   #9
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For what it is worth, I'm in Michigan.
Not for long, eh? Or are you staying local?

One thing you can do is ask your Realtor what percentage of sales use an attorney, and if it is less than 100%, what characteristics of the sale drive that need.
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Old 03-17-2016, 05:05 PM   #10
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Not for long, eh? Or are you staying local?

One thing you can do is ask your Realtor what percentage of sales use an attorney, and if it is less than 100%, what characteristics of the sale drive that need.

Plan is to move from MI to WA. Good suggestion. I worry about what I don't know that I need to worry about.
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Old 03-17-2016, 05:34 PM   #11
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I worry about what I don't know that I need to worry about.
That's a legitimate concern. Still, I think it is much easier to make a mistake buying than selling. The biggest area of exposure the seller has (IMHO) is mispricing the house. This can be minimized by good comps work. After that the risks fall off. Lazy realtor, the closing goes fubar, that kind of thing.
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Old 03-17-2016, 05:53 PM   #12
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So often, you'll be getting a real estate agent to look for houses, and the seller will have another agent splitting the commission.

Just remember that neither is YOUR real estate agent. They both work for the seller and actually put their interests ahead of your interest.

But most transactions don't require an attorney if they're simple and straight forward. The closing attorney catches most problems in reality.
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Old 03-17-2016, 06:33 PM   #13
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About twenty year ago I was purchasing a lot. At the closing, without a calculator, I pointed out that the math was wrong. An hour later we finished the closing. Paperwork prepared by the attorney's office who extracted a fee. Two years later I was entering into a contract to build a house and for some reason I went to the court house to get a precise lot description. Turns out my deed was referencing the wrong lot in the subdivision. Same guy who can't do math. Listen to their advice, but check everything.
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Old 03-17-2016, 06:52 PM   #14
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We recently setup a revocable living trust with an attorney who is supposedly a specialist in estate planning. We had 4 rental properties that had to be retitled to the new trust.
I proofed the transfer deeds and 2 of the 4 deeds had errors in legal descriptions. And this was work done by the paralegal who was their real estate "expert" No so much!

Has RE@Boys said, "check everything" and assume nothing.
Nwsteve
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Old 03-18-2016, 01:46 PM   #15
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We recently setup a revocable living trust with an attorney who is supposedly a specialist in estate planning. We had 4 rental properties that had to be retitled to the new trust.
I proofed the transfer deeds and 2 of the 4 deeds had errors in legal descriptions. And this was work done by the paralegal who was their real estate "expert" No so much!

Has RE@Boys said, "check everything" and assume nothing.
Nwsteve
I had a similar issue when I bought my house in Georgia. After the title search was done (NO PROBLEMS!), I discovered that the legal description (for the LAST THREE deeds) had left off one of the land lots...essentially dividing the property in half (including a corner of the house). It created a slight pain to locate the previous owners to sign affidavits about the mistake. The moral of this story? Whatever you are buying, it's worth it to have a survey completed and compare it with the legal description...which is usually outside the purview of many real estate attorney's practice.
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Old 03-18-2016, 02:19 PM   #16
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So often, you'll be getting a real estate agent to look for houses, and the seller will have another agent splitting the commission.

Just remember that neither is YOUR real estate agent. They both work for the seller and actually put their interests ahead of your interest.

But most transactions don't require an attorney if they're simple and straight forward. The closing attorney catches most problems in reality.
Wish that were true. My experience is that both are working for themselves. Keep your eyes open, trust but verify. "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not after you"
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Old 03-18-2016, 04:09 PM   #17
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Wish that were true. My experience is that both are working for themselves. Keep your eyes open, trust but verify. "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not after you"
I have mentioned to my DW (who is a RE broker) that if I ever decide to practice law (very, VERY remote!), all I'm going to do is sue real estate agents. She tells stories to me daily of some very unethical and often illegal things RE agents do in order to close a deal. I'd probably make a decent amount of money just focusing on them.

Sent via mobile device. Please excuse any grammatical errors.
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Old 03-18-2016, 04:24 PM   #18
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While not universally true, I have found for lawyers in general, math is not their strongest skill. They are primarily word people.
Just sayin
Nwsteve
I agree! The attorney that drew up my trust had a provision that I could withdraw 5% of the principal each year. He said in 20 years it will be all gone! I worked out that in 20 years there would still be 38% left!
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