If you don’t want to be left liable or make an expensive mistake during a purchase or sale, then you likely need a real estate attorney.
Whether you’re making a life-changing real estate transaction, drafting a contract or are facing litigation, a skilled real estate attorney can help.
In this guide, we’ll look at when you might or might not need a real estate attorney:
Do I Need a Real Estate Attorney in Florida?
Many states legally require buyers and sellers to work with a lawyer. In Florida, there is no requirement to include a real estate attorney in the process. However, it is highly advised. Remember, real estate attorneys are experts in their field. Having an expert on your side is always best when it comes to life-changing decisions.
The key reasons include:
- Exclusive Representation: You’re represented by an independent and expert opinion on your decisions and contracts.
- Reasonable Costs: Costs are low compared to the risks of liability or mistakes.
- Peace of mind: You’ll gain the expertise of a lawyer, who will make complicated concepts and contract terms easy to understand. You can relax knowing you’re not about to make a mistake.
- Protection: Lawyers can help you take legal action should your contract have problems or if you face any other legal dispute.
How Real Estate Lawyers Help
Real estate lawyers are professionals. They’ve completed the studying and training it takes to become licensed to practice law. They can provide legal expertise and assistance in a wide range of real estate areas, including:
- Asset Protection for Real Estate
- Commercial Lending and Borrowing
- Commercial Real Estate Closings and Title Insurance
- Commercial Real Estate Contracts
- Commercial Real Estate Leases
- Condominium and Homeowner’s Associations
- Eviction Services
- Mortgage Foreclosure Law
- Preparation of Deeds, Mortgages and Other Documents
- Real Estate Development Services
- Real Estate Litigation
- Real Estate Ownership Decisions
- Residential Real Estate Closings and Title Insurance
- Residential Real Estate Contracts
- Residential Real Estate Leases
The point at which people turn to a real estate lawyer varies. For example, they may want legal advice with their contract drafting, while others may only turn to a lawyer when they want to pursue litigation.
Common Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Lawyer
During Contract Drafting and Reviews
While real estate agents can do a great job preparing contracts, they’re not as good as lawyers are at reviewing the contract terms. They don’t usually have the knowledge to provide legal protection in contingency and areas of liability. While a real estate lawyer can review your existing contract, it may be more straightforward to have them draft it from the start.
- Contract Deadlines: The timelines and deadlines listed in the contract may be beyond your control and should therefore be stated in the real estate contract. If contingencies aren’t put in place, you could be held liable.
- Inspections: As a buyer, you can receive a property inspection to reveal problems with the property. An attorney can help include potential problems in the contract and ensure you have a way to leave the deal or avoid paying for repairs.
- Title Search: A title search is a critical part of any property purchase and will reveal any liens on the property. In Florida, a title search is highly complicated without the resources of a real estate lawyer.
During Closing of the Purchase or Sale
While closing is the most exciting moment of any real estate transaction, it’s also the step with the most paperwork. There will be stacks of legal documents to review and sign. One oversight here could be extremely costly. You do not want to be left liable or forced to pay any unwanted fees.
A real estate lawyer can be used during the closing to help navigate document reviews. This is wise for your protection and can also be of great relief to buyers who are intimidated or confused.
It’s completely normal to not understand every word of the documents, so having a lawyer by your side to explain things in plain English is a great help.
For Litigation Representation
Another reason why you might need a real estate attorney is for litigation.
Real estate litigation arises fast and unpredictably. It sees buyers and sellers face off in heated disputes. A lawyer will use their expertise to argue your case and prove that the contract was defective. Doing so can prevent you from paying unwanted and unfair fees or being left with a property that isn’t in the condition you expected.
Common real estate litigation examples include:
- Contract Disputes
- Landlord And Tenant Litigation
- Escrow Disputes
- Property Litigation Claims
- Quiet Title Litigation
- Partition Of Real Property
- Construction Defects
When You Might Not Want to Hire a Real Estate Attorney
It’s almost always advised that you hire a real estate attorney when making a purchase or sale.
Naturally, if you’re on a tight budget, it might not be easy to hire one. You might argue that the money could be better spent on a down payment or moving expenses. However, the costs that could arise due to a lack of contingencies could prove far, far more expensive.
Alternatively, you should not hire an inexperienced or unreputable real estate attorney. There are over a million attorneys across the U.S. But not all of them should be trusted. Always go for one from a reputable and long-standing law firm. The lawyers working there will have extremely high standards to uphold and will not waste your time with unwanted stresses.
How Much Do Real Estate Attorneys Cost to Hire?
The costs of hiring a real estate attorney will vary depending on what you need. Some attorneys charge a flat fee for a specified state of services, while others will charge per hour.
Real estate lawyers’ fees are usually paid with your closing costs. They will be found on your loan estimate document under ‘services you can shop for’.
Contact a Real Estate Lawyer in Florida
If you need legal assistance with any area of real estate, from real estate clostings to contract drafting to litigation, then our Florida real estate attorneys can help.
Our St Petersburg and Riverview real estate attorneys at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A. will review your circumstances and ensure your transaction goes smoothly.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.