Do You Need Attorneys, Lawyers To Buy, Sell, Trade Maine Real Estate, ME Properties?

Real Estate Agent with MOOERS REALTY ME Broker License 106759

Lawyers, attorneys in Maine for a real estate transfer, a sale of ME property, do you need one legally to make the swap, switch, deal?

Could you have a Maine real estate closing with one party or both the buyer and seller not having legal representation? You could but should not. I am as frugal as a typical Mainer but from time to time when I see a buyer or seller of ME real estate indicate they don't want an attorney, a little heart to heart talk has to be had. pig chicken barnyard photo

For the Maine real estate buyer who says I have the cash, no ME banker looking over my shoulder to make me jump thru the legal hoops and I don't want an attorney, one by one the risks are spelled out. Biggest one is the title search.

The buyer who says he climbed the steps to the Maine county registry of deeds, found the deed the owner, seller of ME real estate was given recorded in black and white often figures he or she is all set.

But what about what happened before that deed? Earlier family conveyance when someone died, did all the heirs sign off? How many kids were there in this large family? And some how the buyer's ten minute "title search" missed the IRS lien sticking like a burdock on that title to the property he is planning on owning, buying.

 Earlier right of ways left out of property descriptions or was that a discontinued town road, etc And that pesky divorce, didn't that little event affect title?Was it handled properly concerning this Maine land that was traded for the pig and a chicken, no money down earlier deal with the scribbled hand written"deed"?

With some sellers, not just one deed or two on registry record but hundreds on file. It's like which wire to cut in the large bundle with the ticking bomb, only seconds before the home made, crude explosive device dedinates if the right colored wire is not determined. snipped. Which property purchase, transfer affects this Maine real estate ? Following the chain of title is something title abstractors, attorneys are trained to do. And even they make mistakes, miss things but have insurance if they drop the peverbial ice cream cone and corrections, remedies, solution procedures are in place to "fix and correct".

The description in the deed can be vague, wrong and mistakes made when drafted. Scrivener's errors by maybe the legal secretary that got part of the description messed up, reversed, or left out all together. The description of the Maine property does not "close". Or the description is so vague that sure, it spells out Maine, the town it is in, somewhere in that six by six mile square.

Good luck finding it and the Maine property owner has no real clue but is pretty certain, he thinks, the land in question is on the east side of the road...somewhere over there pointing.

What are you buying, what is the title behind it, what surprises lurk that you go in blindly and investing money without full knowledge of the risks, consequences?

But yes, the property owner in Maine could type out the same deed, get a ME registry of deeds transfer declaration of value form so the document can be recorded and collect the buyer and seller's side of the transfer tax of $1.10 per thousand of value for each side of the transaction. And trot in to the registry to record that deed for the world to see that there is a new owner here people. And the buyer could have talked with the town office to see about back taxes, liens on the Maine property and again thought all set. Satisfied knowing the registry trip showed the deed, the town said taxes are current and feeling the Maine property seller seems up and up. Honest as the day as long type. But forgot to mention property in Maine tree growth program and there is a major penalty for removing it to build that cabin you dreamed about. You had no idea as the buyer going in blindly.

But missing seller's affidavits swearing to the fact that no known buried fuel tanks, no known mechanics liens from work done in the last 180 days has not been paid for that they know about. Pesticide use and other matters being spelled out not made a part of this sale. Loose as a goose. Sure the Maine real estate seller could be the nicest guy, couple but the title behind the property. What happened before the seller's deed with the skimpy write up of start at this now long gone missing tree and without numbers, metes and bounds description vaguely in a sentence or two leaves much to be desired for a legal description?  

Divorces, heirship property, Maine real estate traded for a cow and two chickens with the "deed" description written up barnyard fashion can be like someone that knows enough to be dangerous. Like doing life and death surgery on someone when all you have for background, training is a merit badge in first aid from back when you were in the cub scouts to draw from before making that all important incision. The small properties sold in Maine can make the cost of an attorney seem too big, out of proportion, out of whack for a seemingly simple litte deal. But it is the little Maine real estate deals that have the most messed up titles, property disputes, boundary fighting, other flaws and defects because a bank or lawyer or Maine real estate broker was not involved before to make sure the transfer was done correctly. Or to point out title problems, defects that are not covered, excluded, out in the open for the world to see in title insurance policies. You needs lots of sets of eyeballs to scan the deal, make sure the wrinkles are missing, everything goes smoothly. Trying to buy, sell, trade Maine real estate without an attorney, lawyer to represent you is a dangerous, caveman practice in most cases.

I'm Maine REALTOR Andrew Mooers

Comments (5)

Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Our contracts are written by attorneys.  Our settlements are conducted by title offices.  Our buyers and sellers are not "represented" at settlement. 

We do just fine. 

Jun 24, 2010 10:50 PM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Do it yourself home or car repairs are one thing. The stakes are way way smaller than buying property without an attorney.

Jun 24, 2010 11:05 PM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

In MA, we make sure both the buyer and the seller have legal counsel.....most agents in MA use the standard GBREB purchase and sales and fill in the blanks....the attorneys negotiate the transaction from there and a final agreement is reached....I prefer the seller's attorney write the agreement from the start....usually the buyers attorney is the closing attorney and he will certify the title..... WE MAKE SURE ALL PARTIES HAVE AN ATTORNEY....we don't wear that hat!!

Jun 24, 2010 11:18 PM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Standard realtor approved MAR template to fill in contingencies, terms of the deal for delivery to the bank, attorneys in Maine.

Jun 25, 2010 12:36 AM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker


Thanks for sharing how things should be done in ME.

In Texas we have promulgated contracts and addendum that we must use (there are a few exceptions).  Also we use title companies who handle the actual closing process.  Have never had a client use an attorney.

Jun 25, 2010 12:37 AM

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