A Real Estate Attorney and You: Clear to Close

.The biggest decisions in life can be much less daunting with helpful advice from knowledgeable experts. A Real Estate Attorney is a perfect example of an individual who just makes life easier. Why go into one of your biggest investments alone when you have the option of retaining a third party who is there to protect you and your interests?

You’ll find that a Real Estate Attorney is an invaluable addition to your home team. Once you find your dream home or investment property, there are numerous matters that can develop. Let your advocate in Florida Real Estate represent your interests in the transaction and streamline the process to get you into your home while you make plans for an epic housewarming celebration. (Who doesn’t love a good party!)

house of mondey

7 Benefits of Bringing a Real Estate Attorney to the Table

  1. They can negotiate the details of the transaction.
  2. Real Estate Attorneys draft and review real estate contracts.
  3. Completing title searches and checking for any encumbrances is a necessary detail.
  4. A Florida Real Estate Attorney can review and write title insurance policies.
  5. Closing documents can be prepared by your attorney in a timely manner.
  6. Your Real Estate Attorney is ready to handle any disputes or negotiations on your behalf.
  7. Let your attorney review lengthy homeowners’ covenants for potential dealbreakers.

 1. An investment of this importance requires attention to detail.

Why go into any negotiation alone? Even if you are a fearless negotiator, it’s best to let a neutral party deal with the details when the results are personal. Your Florida Real Estate Attorney ensures your interests are protected and that the transaction meets federal and state laws while you salivate over the chef’s kitchen and retreat-like feel of the primary suite.

Did you know it’s an option who pays for the owner’s title insurance premiums? Moreover, do you know where this selection is located in a sales contract? Owner’s title insurance policies are vital to protect your interests and can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. If you do not have an expert reviewing the contract prior to signing, you may inadvertently end up on the hook for these policy expenses. A Real Estate Attorney on your side from day one helps identify tricky details and negotiate which party pays for certain closing costs.

2. The fine print of a real estate contract is their biggest strength.

The devil is in the details. Is this any truer than in the smallest print of a legally enforceable contract? When you are investing in pricey Melbourne, Florida, real estate, the contract should be one of two approved forms. Whether it is a Standard Contract or an As-Is Residential Contract, your Real Estate Attorney knows what should be included and the required disclosures.

Your Real Estate Attorney is familiar with the small print and brings key clauses to your attention. For example, determining who picks the closing agent/title company, who pays prorations for the day of closing, and who pays for the title insurance can all impact you as the buyer or seller. All this is outlined in the contract and is completely negotiable! Never assume the Buyer is going to pay for XYZ and the Seller is going to pay for ABC, just because “that’s always how it’s been.”

3. A Real Estate Attorney checks the title for freedom from encumbrances.

The title to your home isn’t a piece of paper, it is a bundle of rights. Your attorney makes sure you are getting what is expected from your financial investment and that includes closing with a clear title. You can avoid common mistakes that cost time and money by having your Real Estate Attorney involved from start to finish.

Think title defects won’t happen to you? What if you purchase your dream home that was previously held by a Trust, Corporation/LLC or that is being sold by an Estate? There are very specific laws that identify which parties have the authority to sign off on transfers of this nature, and failure to comply with these laws can completely nullify the transaction. A Real Estate Attorney can ensure the correct parties are signing off on the transfer to avoid any issues down the road that could result in a costly and devastating mistake!

4.  A Florida Real Estate Attorney prepares documents to keep you on track.

Ever hear the expression “It’s like herding cats?” Your lender, like every other lender across the country, is helping countless other customers through the home-buying process on any given day. Keeping everyone moving in the same direction and focused on your home acquisition from the moment you choose home sweet home until closing day is a top concern for your attorney. They have their eye on any potential for delay and keep you informed.

What Can Delay a Closing

Appraisal comes in too low.

Home inspection reveals expensive repairs.

Property title isn’t clear.

Your credit report changes.

Unusual deposits or withdrawls from your account.

Final walk-through is unsatisfactory.

man signing papers

5. Your attorney is prepared to handle any disputes and negotiations.

It can happen. You find the perfect home and you love everything about it – except how your neighbor’s fence line clearly encroaches on your property. While we’d love to settle these disputes in a neighborly way with a handshake and a basket of freshly baked muffins, it’s often best to let your Real Estate Attorney negotiate any property use before you even show up on the scene. Let your first interaction with your lovely new neighbors be an invitation to the housewarming party!

Picture yourself looking out over the incredible backyard of your new home, envisioning your dream backyard oasis; you plan to put in a pool, permanent shed to use as your home office/guest space, and an outdoor kitchen. Then you discover you actually can’t do any of that because the whole yard is a dedicated easement. Bring a Real Estate Attorney to the table and protect your dreams of a having a lavishly decorated she-shed in your backyard oasis.

6. Your Real Estate Attorney can review homeowners’ association covenants.

Don’t let your dreams of upgrading your forever home go unrealized because of little-known covenant restrictions. If you want to upgrade the land or property, discuss this with your attorney so they can identify any regulations that may interfere with your ability to make changes. Real Estate Attorneys can help homeowner associations draft these covenants, so they are very familiar regarding what owners can and can’t do with their property within an association.

Homeowners’ associations are all about detail and conformity – not saying that is a bad thing. From paint colors to roofing materials to where you keep your trash cans and how many days they can hang out on the curb, there’s typically a rule for that. Many HOAs require written approval from the HOA members before any home changes or modifications can occur, otherwise you are likely to face hefty fines and even legal action. These details can be potential dealbreakers for new homeowners who have a vision for how they want their home to look.

7. Your attorney is there for any unforeseen situations that may occur.

Are you purchasing a foreclosed house, a short sale, or a home sold as part of a divorce? Even buying property in another state can present its own set of challenges and having an attorney on your side of the table is a huge benefit. These may be less common situations, but you will be happy to have a knowledgeable and experienced Real Estate Attorney guiding you through the stacks of paperwork.

Florida is the land of vacation homes – with its beautiful sand beaches, warm temperatures, and endless water access. It should be no surprise to hear that Florida is the leading destination for foreign investment purchases, accounting for 24% of purchases by international homebuyers in 2022. But what about when these foreign buyers sell their investments? Did you know there are special rules and tax implications when buying a property from a foreign seller? To complicate things even more, it is often the Buyer’s responsibility to make sure these tax implications are being satisfied!

If you aren’t familiar with these rules or your title company isn’t asking the right questions, you could face shocking and costly repercussions. This shouldn’t deter you from buying from foreign owners, but it is a perfect example of why you need a knowledgeable Attorney to handle or guide you through your closing!

What to Expect at Closing

With a Real Estate Attorney on your team, you can expect to walk out of closing with keys to your new house and a smile on your face! You can be confident that your attorney has reviewed all the documents and requested that you sign only what is required. As a party to the sale, you share responsibility for the accuracy of the closing – you can feel good that your interests were thoroughly and thoughtfully represented throughout the buying process.

Why Hire a Real Estate Attorney?

In Florida, it is not required to hire a Real Estate Attorney. However, it is important to note that the expense of an attorney is a fraction of the cost of some of the most common mistakes made by those who enter contracts without the benefit of review by a legal expert.  There are numerous reasons to add an experienced Real Estate Attorney to your home-buying team, not the least of which is peace of mind.

Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Attorney

Third party representing your best interests throughout the transaction

Helps to avoid any legal exposure or liabilities

Expert guidance through complicated legal issues

key in hand

Choose a Real Estate Attorney that listens and keeps your home-buying goals top-of-mind. Find an attorney that makes you feel comfortable by asking around with friends, neighbors, and local realtors. Interview a couple and retain the Melbourne, Florida, Real Estate Attorney that you feel would best represent you and your interests throughout an exciting, and occasionally complicated home-buying transaction.

Having a friend at the table with knowledge and expertise are just two reasons why Real Estate Attorneys are a Resource We Love. For more information on the benefits of a Real Estate Attorney, check out the easy-to-read, informative Legal and Financial Section of our Blog.

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