Frequently Asked Questions
Why you should hire a real estate attorney?
Having an attorney represent your interests isn't a legal requirement. But without one, you increase your chances of being sued by the opposing party for failure to disclose certain information. That is because an attorney's job is to review the home inspection and make certain that all relevant facts about the property (as well as any judgments or defects) are made known to the other party.
In some states, you are required to hire a real estate attorney to guide you through your real estate transaction and assist with closing. In other states, real estate attorneys are optional. See who handles the closing in your state. However, if legal issues arise that your real estate agent can't answer, you'll need an attorney's help. Although good agents know a lot about the negotiating and contracting part of the process, they can't make judgments on legal questions. For example, what if your prospective new home has an illegal in-law unit with an existing tenant whom you want to evict in order to rent the place to a friend? Only a lawyer can tell you with any certainty whether your plans are feasible. Or, if you're drafting any unusual language for the purchase contract, or are concerned about some language in your mortgage, you may want to have an attorney look the documents over.
What is a contract of sale?
A Contract is a legally enforceable agreement between two or more people. In the residential real estate context, a Contract of Sale is formed when a buyer makes an offer on a house, and a seller accepts that offer. A Contract of Sale outlines the terms of the agreement such as the purchase price, when the mortgage commitment is due, when closing is anticipated to occur, when home inspections are due, and what each party’s obligations are.
What is a lease?
A lease is a contractual arrangement calling for the lessee (user) to pay the lessor (owner) for use of an asset. The narrower term rental agreement can be used to describe a lease in which the asset is tangible property. Language used is that the user rents the land or goods let or rented out by the owner. The verb to lease is less precise as it can refer to either of these actions.
What happens at a closing?
At a closing, the basic idea is: the buyer gives the seller their money and the seller gives the buyer the deed or the proprietary lease. The closing can take place at one of the following locations; the office of the managing agent, one of the attorney’s offices, one of the broker’s offices, or the office which records the sale. The people attending the closing should be the buyer and the seller, their attorneys, their real estate agents (though they don’t actually have to be there), a closing agent or a representative from the mortgage company. Closings can take a shockingly long time to complete if both sides are not prepared, so make sure you go over as much as possible with your attorneys beforehand.
What is a Will?
A Will (also known as a Last Will & Testament) is a document that comes into effect upon death, by which a person makes a disposition of property both real & personal. **Key point to remember: Nothing in a Will takes effect before the death of the testator (the maker of the will).
Why is it important to have a Will?
- A Will allows you to dispose of your property any way YOU desire.
- A Will helps to insure family harmony when dividing assets.
- A Will protects the interests of those who cannot fight for their rights i.e.; children or special needs individuals.
- A Will provides favorable tax advantages upon distribution of assets. (Both Federal & State Taxes).
- A Will aids in protecting you while you are alive. (Who doesn’t want to be nice to someone who wrote a Will??)
What is a Trust?
A Trust is a vehicle into which “the ownership” of property is placed to be managed by a trustee.
Why should I establish a Trust?
- Property placed into a Trust avoids ‘Probate’ (A court administered process by which deceased persons’ assets are distributed upon his death which can be costly & time consuming.).
- A Trust allows for various tax planning techniques.
- A Trust can be instrumental in helping you qualify for Medicaid Benefits & Long Term Care.
- A Trust may ensure that your assets remain available to your loved ones.
- A Trust can protect your assets from being seized by a Trust beneficiary’s creditors.
- A Trust allows you to control your assets even after your death.