Buying a home is a complex process. There are a lot of moving parts to keep track of and a myriad of decisions and choices to be made along the way. While your real estate agent can assist you through many of the steps, particularly during the early stages of the transaction, such as negotiation of the purchase price and completing the necessary inspections, as you approach the closing you may want to consider hiring an attorney to represent and protect your interests as you embark on what is likely the biggest purchase of your life.
What a Real Estate Attorney Can Do For You
Although Ohio law does not require that an attorney be present at a real estate closing, having your own attorney in your corner on closing day, as well as during the pre-closing and post-closing periods, can ensure that the process proceeds smoothly, that any unforeseen issues or problems are addressed and resolved promptly, and that you are well-informed concerning your legal rights and responsibilities as a homebuyer. Your attorney will be able to answer questions that arise at closing and will negotiate on your behalf before closing.
Closing day on a house can be a stressful and overwhelming experience, especially for first-time homebuyers. Having a real estate attorney present to protect your interests while carefully walking you through the process can give you much-needed peace of mind, allowing you to focus your attention and energy on the excitement of moving into your new home.
Closing any real estate transaction involves a huge amount of paperwork. Homebuyers will be signing multiple legal documents. With so much at stake, having an attorney whose sole role is to represent you and ensure that your interests are protected at the closing and beyond can make a huge difference. Keep in mind that the seller and lender are likely to have their own attorneys. If you are unrepresented, you could lose out should a dispute or misunderstanding arise at closing.
A real estate attorney will help you understand the loan agreements and the other legal documents you will be signing at the closing. Your attorney can explain each document before you sign it, and answer questions or concerns you may have. They will ensure that all contracts are properly drafted, that they comply with relevant state and local laws, and that the documents are promptly filed with the appropriate agencies.
Real estate attorneys can conduct title searches to ensure that the seller has the legal right to sell the property. It is extremely important that the title documents are accurate. Should an issue arise during the search, such as the existence of a lien or judgment, real estate attorneys can advise you on how to proceed and negotiate on your behalf to resolve the matter as quickly and efficiently as possible. Importantly, they can also obtain proof that judgments or liens have been settled.
Difficult or Complicated Transactions
In certain situations having your own attorney to navigate the process and protect your interests is particularly important. Examples include transactions that are cash sales or involve owner financing. These deals are not generally governed by consumer protection regulations and the terms are negotiated directly between the parties.,Other complicated transactions include:
- Foreclosed property
- Short sales
- Commercial property
- Property that is part of an estate
- Property that is an an area vulnerable to a natural disaster
- Property that has an issue with termites, lead, or another environmental contaminant
Discriminatory Practices or Mortgage Fraud
Mortgage lending discrimination is illegal. Under the federal Fair Housing Act it is illegal to discriminate against someone because of race, color, religion, sex, familiar status, national origin or disability at any stage of the mortgage process, including:
- Approvals and denials
- Terms (such as interest rates, points, fees and other costs)
- Mortgage broker services
- Property appraisals
- Home loan modification assistance
- Homeowners insurance
If you are facing discrimination during the home buying process, an attorney can you assist you. In addition, a real estate attorney can help protect homebuyers from certain types of mortgage fraud, including scams involving stolen personal information, predatory lending practices, and others.
An Experienced Ohio Mortgage Attorney Can Help
If you need assistance with a real estate transaction, we welcome you to contact us.