Do I Need a Real Estate Lawyer to Buy or Sell a House: 6 Helpful Tips

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A Residential Real Estate Attorney or Commercial Real Estate Attorney can help you to understand the real estate process, avoid snags and pitfalls along the way, and help to bring your real estate transaction to a successful closing. Here are some helpful tips from our team of experienced Real Estate Lawyers at Walden, Neitzke & Kuhary, S.C.:

  • Drafting an Offer: Nearly every real estate transaction, big or small, is memorialized with something in writing, typically called an “Offer to Purchase” or “Purchase and Sale Agreement” in Wisconsin.  The Offer to Purchase or other real estate contract is the roadmap for the sale of the property.  It determines what inspections or other contingencies will occur and establishes dates and deadlines in order for the real estate transaction to close.  Whether you are the buyer or the seller, a real estate attorney can prepare or review the Offer to Purchase or other real estate contract with you. 
  • Discuss and Decide on Contingencies: The Offer to Purchase will contain contingencies, most common are the home inspection contingency and the financing contingency.  Of course, there are many other contingencies available, for example, for specific tests, among other things.  A real estate lawyer will help you understand the meaning of these contingencies, which of them you might want to include in your Offer, and what they mean for you as either buyer or seller.
  • Avoid or Resolve Disputes:  Having an attorney prepare your real estate documents and be involved in the process helps to avoid disputes and misunderstanding between the parties.  Nonetheless, an experience real estate attorney can be brought in, after the fact, to help assess and navigate a dispute that may have arisen between two parties or simply to advise you as to your rights.        
  • Review of Title Commitment/Coordination with Title Company:  A real estate attorney can review a property’s chain of title as well as the liens, easements, and other encumbrances that show up on a title commitment/title search.  The attorney can help you understand what these mean and, if necessary, assist in clearing up title issues.  
  • Avoid Liability:  Many sellers are not aware that selling their home and providing the buyer information about the condition of the property can result in substantial liability, if a buyer believes a “defect” was undisclosed by the seller.  Selling your home “As Is” is permitted in Wisconsin and can help reduce the likelihood of such liability, provided it is done correctly.  A real estate lawyer can draft documents and advise you on how to properly sell a home or other property “As Is.”  
  • A Real Estate Attorney Can Save You Money: If you are the seller and already have a potential buyer or small group of interested buyers, you may not need a real estate agent/broker.  A real estate broker in a residential transaction typically charges between 5%-6% commission.  If your house sells for $500,000, that would mean a commission as much as $30,000!  If you don’t need an agent to list and market your property, you may be able to obtain big savings using a real estate attorney.  The typical residential real estate transaction costs in the range of $800 to $3,000 range, much less than a real estate commission.

Contact a real estate attorney at Walden, Neitzke & Kuhary, S.C. today, to discuss your real estate needs.  

Disclaimer: This article is general in nature, is not exhaustive, and should not be relied upon as legal advice, because legal advice cannot be given without full consideration of all relevant information relating to an individual’s situation.  This information is intended for Wisconsin only.