Do you need a real estate attorney to buy a home in Florida? When people think of hiring a real estate attorney, many cringe at the thought of the high hourly fees that could start accumulating. They have enough expenses to deal with during the buying process, including the Inspection, Appraisal, Lender Fees, Down Payment and Closing Costs, right? There is plenty of money going out during the intial stages of the home purchase.
Many sellers live out of state or out of the country and are not familiar with Florida laws and who pays certain closing costs and how taxes work here. The responsibility for closing and title costs varies by county. Are you clear who is responsible for each charge on your closing documents? Are you aware that they can be negotiated?
In Florida you are not required to have legal representation. Many states (check your state) mandate the use of attorneys for the real estate transaction once the offer has been accepted.
For Florida buyers interested in purchasing or selling a home, hiring an attorney to represent you could save you thousands of dollars and be a great asset as well as investment.
We, as realtors, can be very knowledable about the sales process, disclosure forms and negotiating the terms of the contract. When a legal issue arises....we are not attorneys and they happen all the time!
Here are some examples:
1.The sellers want to stay in the property up to 60 days after closing while their new home is being built. The new owners are waiting to move and after the 60 days they are not ready to leave.
2. There are tenants in place when you purchase the property and you take over their lease. The tenants stop paying rent and you are forced to evict them.
3. The closing is taking place and the realtor has not dropped off the keys to the closing agent. The title company releases the escrow money to the sellers that live out of state and the new buyers do not have access to the property. The sellers realtor says he is unavailable until the next day to provide the keys but we can drive two hours to his office to get them tomorrow. Really?
4. New owners move into the property and at the first rain, the inside of the home gets flooded. Signs of previous flooding was missed by the inspector, what do you do?
5. You are living in the home as a rental and would like to purchase it. As potential buyers, you would like the rental payments to apply towards your future purchase. Do you contact the realtor who helped you find the home or the owner to help draft an agreement and negotiate the terms? The owner may have their preferred attorney. Who will represent you (the new buyer's) interests?
Today their are many standardized forms that the realtors can use. Still when push comes to shove and issues arise, professional legal representation can offer you guidance and protect your interests.
Many real estate companies use their own contracts which have wording added that primarily protects themselves from litigation. A real estate attorney can read through all the documentation , recommend which contracts to use and eliminate or help re-negotiate items that are in you (the client's best interest.)
When Florida is not your primary residence, having an attorney represent you can be key in assuring a smooth closing. Many people think that when they are paying all cash that the transaction will go smoothly. Wish that was the case.
Things happen..make sure you are in the drivers seat. Consider being represented by an experienced, professional attorney who is located in the geographic area where purchasing or selling the property and available when you want to communicate with them.
Fees can range from hourly to a flat fee based on service. Get all agreements in writing.
please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.