Most of the time when you buy or sell a home, there is no reason to involve an attorney, but there are several situations where you would be foolish not to consult with one. Real estate laws can be complex, and you can't expect to understand all of them. The following are four situations where you should have the assistance of a real estate lawyer.
When a business is involved
Although there are circumstances when an attorney may be needed by an individual buying from or selling to an individual, if there are businesses involved, you need to speak to a lawyer. The laws governing corporations are different than individuals in significant ways, so any contract that you are given should be looked at by an attorney before you sign it. This will assure that the property title is transferred properly, and any clauses in the contract can be explained, especially ones you were not aware of.
When transferring title without a sale
There are many reasons this type of transfer takes place. It may be because there has been a death in the family and the transfer of the deed is an inheritance. Another reason may be to transfer a property title to a living trust. Perhaps the property is simply a donation to a charitable organization. Whatever the specific reason for doing this is, an attorney should be consulted. There can be tax implications for one or both parties, and there are often rules regarding this type of non-cash transfer.
When the property has a lien on it
This applies to buying any real estate whether it is from an individual or a business. If you desire to buy any property that has a lien on it, you should always contact a real estate attorney. Never mind what the seller is telling you, nor should you give any weight to the opinion of the real estate agent. An attorney can evaluate the lien and explain to you exactly what this means to the buyer of the property.
Buying property on leased land
If you want to buy a building or a home on leased land, it is imperative that you have an attorney look at the contract for the lease. Will the lease automatically apply to the new owner of the building, or will you have to renegotiate the lease? Whatever the case may be, it is important that you understand the legal ramifications of the land lease before you buy the building.
Regardless of how much experience you have in buying or selling real estate, the need for a real estate lawyer cannot be overstated. With the exception of a few routine real estate transactions, you will always be better off having a real estate attorney look at the contract.