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How a Real Estate Lawyer Can Help Home Sellers

by Jamie Nichols

Selling a home is an exciting prospect, but it's pretty complicated to do it independently. In fact, in 2021, 26% of closings were delayed three months earlier. This was due to issues related to home inspections, appraisals, titling, contract contingencies, or financing. Up to 5% of buyers and sellers terminated their contracts. Working with a real estate lawyer protects you by addressing all legal issues involving home sales.

Here are some ways a real estate lawyer can be valuable to a home seller.

Contract of Sale

Your real estate lawyer plays a crucial role in preparing the contract of sale. This is the document that lays out the terms of selling your home. In most cases, real estate lawyers draft contracts on a standardized form and later add an attachment with additional terms to be settled with the buyers.

After finalizing the contract, you and the buyers are required to sign it. Your lawyer has to go through the final draft to ensure you agree to all the terms and conditions of the sale. Afterward, the buyer will send your real estate lawyer a down payment, which they will deposit in an escrow account. 

Liability Regarding Repairs

Many buyers insist on a home inspection to look for hidden problems. The inspection occurs after you accept the homebuyer's offer. Based on the terms of the sale contract, the buyer may ask you to fix major repairs or ask for a reduction of the sale price to cater to the cost of repairs.

After you have fixed the repairs or have settled on a lower sale price, other issues with repairs could arise when you are about to close. For example, the fridge may break down on the day before closing. In such situations, your real estate lawyer will tell you the best recourse based on their experience with similar last-minute complications. 

Clear the Home Title of Liens

After you have accepted an offer from a potential homebuyer, the title company, or real estate agent representing the buyer, will need to see the title report for your house. You could face a series of title issues such as unpaid balances from lenders, trust complications, and property taxes. 

A real estate lawyer will help you address these problems to clear the path to closing. For example, if you have outstanding liens on your home, your real estate lawyer will reach out to the title company to ensure all lien holders are paid correctly. Resolving these issues can take months and is required for the sale to close.