buying real estate

What Does a Real Estate Attorney Do for The Buyer?

Purchasing a home is likely the most significant investment you will ever make. Along with hiring a real estate agent to assist you negotiate the transaction, you might consider a real estate attorney to guide you through the legal process. Real estate lawyers specialize in matters pertaining to property, ranging from transactions to handling conflicts between parties.

Why should Buyers work with a Real Estate Attorney?

A real estate attorney can ensure that the transaction is seamless with minimal risk. They can assist the prospective buyer in various areas such as identifying the best property, dealing with brokers, writing and reviewing purchase agreements, negotiating and executing a contract sale, obtaining a mortgage and attending the closing of the mortgage where the deed is transferred, among other areas.

In most states, basic transactions do not warrant hiring a real estate lawyer. However, there are still many cases where a lawyer is not only helpful but essential. When purchasing a new property, you should work with a lawyer if:

  • The property has physical damages
  • You are from out of town
  • There is an unlawful dwelling on the property, such as an in-law unit
  • The bank owns the land
  • The area is prone to tempestuous weather (tornados, hurricanes, floods, etc.)
  • You need to back out of a contract
  • You need to evict tenants

Why Buyers Should Work with a Real Estate Lawyer at Closing

In Alabama and a few other states, a licensed real estate lawyer is required to draft and prepare all legal paperwork involved in a real estate transaction. “Legal documents” includes deeds, Power of Attorney, titles, Termite Letters, etc.

This law was set up in 1983 when a title company gave multiple buyers title as joint tenants with the right of survivorship when they thought they had given the purchasers title as tenants in common. Understandably, this led to complications for the buyers in later years. Therefore, Alabama decided to limit the preparation of legal documentation to a licensed attorney.

Besides remaining compliant with state law, there are some other good reasons to engage a lawyer throughout the real estate transaction process. Following are a few examples of when it makes sense to work with a real estate attorney:

  • When you need to decide who pays for repairs after a home inspection reveals costly problems
  • When a residential property has an unlawful in-law unit with an existing tenant whom you want to evict
  • When you want to enter a rent-to-buy agreement
  • When you are concerned about specific language in your purchase agreement

In relation to this, seasoned lawyers have links with reputable mortgage loan brokers, surveyors, inspectors, and other professions in the region. While you may not anticipate a surveyor’s need, if a problem arises with boundaries, it would be prudent to have an expert on call for a fast and fair evaluation.

Closing Checklist: Your Alabama Real Estate Lawyer Can Help with it

The entire real estate transaction process involves various complex and unique aspects, but the closing process presents the maximum challenges. An inexperienced buyer can easily make a mistake, and at this point, mistakes can be crippling, leading to last-minute conflict and unnecessary expenses. It’s possible to avoid such mistakes and make sure the entire real estate closing process goes seamlessly by working with a competent Alabama real estate attorney.

There are several key documents involved in the closing process, and many of these documents need to be completed before closing. Documents to be completed before the closing include:

  • A copy of the signed contract, including all addendums
  • Complete contact details for all parties involved, including buyers, sellers, and realtors
  • HOA contact details and guidelines
  • Full contact details of all brokers, bankers, and lenders
  • All information pertaining to the loan payoff for the seller, including details on the loan, social security numbers of purchases, and account numbers
  • The results of survey and home inspection, if required
  • Information on Home Warranty, if applicable
  • A copy of the Termite Letter, if required
  • Copies of wills, deeds, mortgages, Powers of Attorney, trusts, or other complete documents associated with the transaction
  • Buyer’s hazard insurance provider contact details
  • Approval letter for one or both parties to use a Power of Attorney during the transaction
  • A list of repairs that need to be undertaken prior to closing and/or invoices for repairs, if applicable

Each of the following documents must be presented before the signing of any real estate transaction. Both parties must present the below documents at the time of closing:

  • Current driver’s licenses for the purpose of identification
  • Tax ID information and/or social security number of both seller and buyer
  • Proof of bank wire or certification of funds for all closing funds from the buyer
  • Approved, original, and notarized Power of Attorney

Work with an Experienced Real Estate Attorney in Alabama

One of the most valuable investments of your life is purchasing a home. If you are buying a property in AL, trust the seasoned real estate attorneys at Davis, Bingham, Hudson, Buckner, P.C. We understand that buying property is both exhilarating and daunting. Our established attorneys will handle all the complexities involved in the transaction so you can enjoy the excitement of acquiring new property. Call us today at (334) 821-1908 to speak to one of our attorneys.


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