How a Lawyer Can Help with Real Estate Contract Negotiation
June 15th, 2022
When it comes time to buy or sell a house, the buyer and seller come to the transaction with different goals, needs, and expectations about what will make the transaction a success. Getting to a point where buyer and seller agree on every term of the sale takes knowledge, experience, and skill. By working with an experienced professional, you benefit from someone who takes an objective approach to the transaction, has experience negotiating hundreds of real estate deals, and has a depth of knowledge that most buyers and sellers simply don’t have.
Whether you are the buyer or the seller, it is important to remember that finding the right house or the right buyer is only the first step in what can be a long and challenging process. In almost all real estate transactions, there is a certain amount of negotiation that will take place around the purchase price and dates of inspections, repairs, and accommodations. Once these general terms are agreed to, there is still negotiation about closing costs, commission (if either party is working with a realtor), earnest money, and interest rates.
Even though your agent may recommend that hiring an attorney is unnecessary, you should remember that the real estate agent’s goals are not necessarily the same as your own. The agent is interested in completing the transaction quickly so they can get paid and move on to the next sale. But a real estate attorney will take a different approach and provide assistance from a legal perspective to eliminate any one-sided terms of the contract, advise on the implications of the contract, and negotiate any final details with an eye to the future and your unique goals and needs.
The experienced real estate contract attorneys at RKPT will protect your interests throughout a real estate transaction to ensure that you are not faced with unexpected obstacles, and help you navigate any problems when they arise.
Making the Offer
Once a buyer has identified the area or areas in which they would like to purchase a home, they will begin making offers. In today’s hot real estate market, it is not uncommon for sellers to receive offers above asking price. If you are the buyer, your initial offer should be enough to get the seller’s attention, but should also give you some room to negotiate.
As part of the initial offer, the buyer may consider asking the seller to pay for a home warranty and pest inspection. The buyer may also wish to negotiate to have an independent home inspection performed and, if there are any issues that need to be addressed, whether the seller will agree to cover the cost of any repairs that are necessary.
When sellers advertise a house “as is” it means they are making no warranties relating to the home, and that the seller will not be obligated to make any repairs if there are adverse conditions present on the property. This does not necessarily mean a buyer should avoid buying the property, but it should be a sign to take extra steps to ensure to become aware of any potential problems with the home before signing the purchase agreement.
The real estate contract attorneys at RKPT have experience addressing these issues and can guide you through the negotiation to ensure that your interests are protected.
The Purchase Agreement
A well-drafted purchase agreement will protect you against any unforeseen problems in a real estate transaction. The purchase agreement should describe how the parties will address any issues with the property, and provide flexibility so either party can terminate the purchase if problems arise.
For the sale to go through, the buyer and seller must agree on all the terms of the transaction, and the agreement must address all relevant details to the transaction. By signing the purchase agreement, the buyer and seller agree that all the terms of the sale are contained in the purchase agreement, and agree to be bound by the terms of the agreement.
The purchase agreement will identify the purchase price and can include other terms of the sale, such as any fixtures or appliances that are included or excluded from the sale, inspection dates, closing dates, and possession dates, the amount of earnest money, who is responsible for closing costs and transfer taxes, conditions for terminating the sale, conditions that must be met for the sale to be completed, whether property taxes will be prorated, and whether the buyer has acknowledged receipt of the seller disclosure statement.
An attorney can assist you in understanding and negotiating these terms and will identify anything else that should be contained in the purchase agreement before you sign. Our lawyers will can also assist with title insurance, restrictions on the property, and other items that might impact your ownership interest.
Real Estate Closing
The real estate closing is the culmination of months of hard work. It is an exciting time, but you must meet all applicable deadlines and other legal requirements. While the purchase agreement should be finalized by the time of the closing, it is wise to have an attorney present to provide a final review of the document and to assist you with any last-minute issues that may arise.
Before the closing date, our lawyers will have performed due diligence to identify any liens, easements, or other issues with the property. We will also prepare and review the closing documents and represent you at the closing to answer any final questions and ensure that the transaction proceeds smoothly. Finally, we will ensure that the money is distributed properly at the end of the sale.
RKPT: Ready to Assist with Your Real Estate Needs
The real estate contract lawyers at RKPT stand ready to assist you with all aspects of your real estate transaction. Contact us today to learn more about our real estate services and to schedule an appointment or call (513) 721-3330 to discuss how we can help.