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A real estate lawyer, also commonly referred to as a real estate attorney, is one of the key players in the home buying process.

Not all states require a real estate lawyer when you’re buying a home. However, even if they are not required, you should understand what you have to gain by hiring an attorney to help you through the process of buying a home.

There are several things a real estate lawyer may do:
• Negotiate the terms of your purchase agreement on your behalf.
• Write the terms you want in your purchase agreement to protect your interests.
• Review the purchase agreement after it has been signed by you and the seller, looking to uncover any surprises.
• Negotiate a credit with the seller for the repair of a defect after your inspection.
• Review a title search to make sure there are no liens, judgments, bankruptcies, unpaid taxes or outstanding mortgages on the property.
• Assist you with obtaining title insurance.
• Negotiate a lower price for the property if the appraisal is lower than the sale price.
• Prepare a closing statement and attend the closing to review all documents.
• Assist when problems arise after moving in.

Holly, a real estate lawyer, explains why you might need an attorney: “If a buyer is at all uncomfortable with the wording of anything, they absolutely should contact their real estate attorney and have them review the documents with them, so that they understand clearly what they’re signing, because those loan documents will be with them for the life of the loan, so it’s important that they understand what they’re signing.”

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VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

HOLLY: Sometimes there are situations that come up where a real estate lawyer would be helpful to the client. The consumer might get into a situation where they’re uncomfortable with the decisions that they have to make, or they have to negotiate certain amendments or they have to negotiate a dispute and they might call a real estate lawyer to get involved.

JULIE: Whenever you’re entering into a legally binding contract, you want someone reading all of the words very carefully to make sure that you’re getting what you think you’re getting. Because more often than not, you read it one way, interpret it, think you’re getting what you want. But someone who’s trained to read it differently can foresee a lot of problems that can come up.

HOLLY: So if a buyer is at all uncomfortable with the wording of anything they absolutely should contact their real estate attorney and have them review the documents with them because those loan documents will be with them for the life of the loan, so it’s important that they understand what they’re signing.

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