Why You Need an Attorney to Handle Your Real Estate Transaction

Why You Need an Attorney to Handle Your Real Estate Transaction

The first thing on people’s minds during a real estate transaction is lowering costs. The next thing that comes to mind is: legal fees. Whether it is for preventative or remedial measures, most people do not like spending much, if any, on attorneys’ fees or other legal costs. However, it can be the most valuable dollar spent for your real estate transaction in the present and future.

The role of a real estate attorney versus the role of a real estate broker are substantially different.

Generally, a “real estate broker” is someone who, for compensation, can perform , among other things, the following acts on behalf of another:

  • Sells, buys, offers, solicits, exchanges, or negotiates some type of real property or business opportunity
  • Leases, rents, solicits to rent or lease, or negotiates some type of real property, improvement, or business opportunity
  • Assists in filing an application to do the acts mentioned above against private, state and/or federal government
  • Solicits borrowers, lenders, and collect payments from borrowers or lenders in connection with loans secured by real property or business opportunity
  • Collecting rent on leased property
  • Sells, buys, or exchanges real property sales contract or promissory note secured by real property or business opportunity.

(CA BUS & PROF § 10131)

Because real estate agents and/or brokers are somewhat versatile in their professions, they sometimes take on the tasks of attorneys. They should not do this. But, it is all too common to have a broker perform legal work. However, there are certain functions that only attorneys can and should be hired to perform. Needless to say, the most crucial task for your attorney would be to review all the documents that are presented to you with the “legal eye”. Once you have a valid written fee agreement with an attorney, you can consider having your real estate attorney assist you with review the following TEN ITEMS:

  1. Different Types Of Property– houses, buildings, land, retail spaces, and others.
  2. Types Of Current Usage Of The Property– industrial, residential, commercial, mixed-use, improved/unimproved, and others.
  3. Type Of Interests– fee, license/easement, installment land, option, lease, and others.
  4. Types of (Vesting) Title– tenancy in common, joint tenancy, corporation, trust, partnership, and others.
  5. Required Investigations– physical condition, geological, construction, water damage, access issues, and others.
  6. Types Of Desired Usage Of The Property– occupancy, development, lease (long-term, short-term), and others.
  7. Compliance With The Law– permits, certificates, approvals, zoning, and others
  8. Financing– review of loan documents, reviewing and obtaining lenders, review interest rates, amount and terms of the loan, and others.
  9. Tax Issues (if a tax attorney)– benefits, advantages, transfers, exchanges, reassessment and proration, and others.
  10. Conflict With Your Broker– over commission, fiduciary duty, disclosure, payment, and others.

The ten items mentioned above might not all be applicable to you. However, whether it would be a “simple” purchase of single-family dwelling, or a long-term ground lease, consult with a seasoned real estate attorney to ask about their scope of representation and expertise.

Are you currently waiting to get into a real estate transaction? Contact Schorr Law today to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys. Call: (310) 954-1877 | Email: info@schorr-law.com | or Text us at: (323) 487-7533.

See related: 3 Things to Consider Before Switching Attorneys

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