A person in a typical real estate deal can sign a binding contract before someone, usually the agent, tells him or her to consult a lawyer. By the time a lawyer gets involved, however, many of the essential terms have become non-negotiable. Though there is still a lot a good lawyer can do, much more could have been done, and many potential problems prevented, if the lawyer had been consulted first.
The reasons why people don't go to a lawyer first are many: a belief that the "standard" forms can't be changed, that they protect both parties, or that they can be read by a layperson, the cost of a lawyer, or the fact they don't have an established relationship with a lawyer. However, the standard forms are still the cause of expensive litigation over their interpretation, and they are primarily written by associations of real estate agents, who typically represent, and therefore the terms generally favor, the seller. Despite the terms being written in English, they should be reviewed by a lawyer who knows what they mean and how they affect the specific facts of your deal.
Since 1942, Demakis Law Offices, P.C., has been representing buyers, sellers, and lenders in commercial and residential real estate transactions. As a result, we know the potential problems, and we know how to help prevent them. Give us a call before your next transaction. We will explain the process, recommend a broker or lender, and review everything before you sign a binding contract. Keep in mind, when buying or refinancing a property, that the lender requires you to pay for its attorney. However, many lenders let you choose your law firm to do the closing, particularly if the firm is on the lender's approved list of closing attorneys or is experienced in real estate closings. Please consider this the next time you get a mortgage loan to finance a real estate transaction. If you are paying for the service, you may as well use a firm you trust.