Should a Home Buyer use an Attorney?

In some states, you do need an attorney to complete a real estate transaction, but in others you do not.

The vast majority of people buying a home do not use the services of a real estate attorney but all do in states such as Florida, for example. Even real estate lawyers admit that attorneys usually are unnecessary. Most home buyers are capable of handling routine real estate purchase contracts as long as precautions are taken. They should definitely make sure they understand every single term of the contract. Every contract is different, even though they're on preprinted forms. Buyers should closely study the contingency clauses allowing them to back out if they cannot obtain financing or an inspection turns up problems.

Hiring an attorney after a conflict erupts may be too late. Lawsuits are costly and time-consuming. People who anticipate a problem should stay out of the transaction altogether. Not all real estate attorneys are competent, let alone good. And it's important to find one who will help, rather than hinder, the deal.

Buyers who need an attorney should call several and inquire about fees, but be willing to pay for someone with experience. Do not hire Uncle Harry, the tax attorney to handle a transaction that may be the biggest investment of your life. On a $100,000 home, the attorney's fee is minuscule, and on a bad deal, that fee could save you a tremendous amount of heartache as well as money to fix whatever problems crop up.

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