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It Takes a Team: The Importance of Hiring an Attorney and a Broker When Buying or Selling a Home

The excitement of moving, the chaos of packing, the emotional roller coaster that comes with starting something new and letting go of the past – these all contribute to the stress of buying or selling a home, so it is not uncommon for things to fall through the cracks during the process.

Unfortunately, not all transactions go smoothly, and it is easy for important matters to get overlooked that could have been prevented by having an attorney on your team.  How could hiring an attorney save you from some of the stress or even a potentially catastrophic situation? Let’s take a look…

Protect Buyer/Seller Interests

Once they have made the commitment to buy or sell their home, the first thing most people do is hire a broker to help manage the process. Agents and brokers are excellent facilitators in the buying/selling process. They can guide you to finding your perfect dream home or help you prepare your home to sell and take care of the entire marketing process for you. Whether you’re selling or buying, they can present you with a basic standard form of contract. The Maryland Association of Realtors proprietary form of Residential Contract of Sale, with numerous Amendments, is comprehensive and provides an excellent basic form. However, whether you are buying or selling (or both), there is really no such thing as a “one size fits all” contract. Every piece of real estate is unique, and the right attorney can help you weave through the legal jargon to protect your interests and limit your risk and your future liability.

By giving your legal team the opportunity to review and assess your contract, you are giving yourself a needed layer of protection. They can make technical edits to limit damages, point out specific clauses that you may not have noticed or understood and, if you are selling, confirm in advance of signing a contract that the title is good.

Contracts for the purchase and sale of homes (sometimes called “offers” by the agents) are legal and binding and are complicated. Having an experienced attorney on your side to help explain, tweak, and amend the language could save you from potential legal issues down the road.

Handle Crisis Situations

There are an endless number of problems that can occur during the sale of a residential property, and there is no way to predict each and every one. Your attorney is there to be your personal “problem solver”, not only to help when a crisis occurs, but in some cases, to help prevent them from happening to begin with.

What happens when the seller of your dream home passes away unexpectedly 10 days before you go to settlement? What if the basement floods days after you sign the contract? Or the seller allows the new owners to move in before the settlement and the house burns down? Who is responsible? What are your legal rights and responsibilities? What may seem like an outlandish situation to you now could end up being your worst nightmare without the proper legal team on your side.

Provide Legal Advice

Your real estate agent or broker should not give you legal advice related to your property. There is a role for everyone on your team, and there are certain aspects of buying and selling a home that only your attorney can, and should, accurately assess. From certain tax obligations, to title searches, to more potentially threatening problems with the property that need legal attention up front, relying on an experienced attorney could save you from jeopardizing the sale or purchase of your home.

For more information on how an experienced attorney can help you, contact David Rudow, Esquire at drudow@adelberg.com or by phone at 410-986-0816.

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