What Does A Real Estate Lawyer Do When You Buy A Home?

Posted on: 14 March 2018

If you are thinking of buying a home, one of the first things you will need to do is hire a real estate attorney to represent you in the sale. You may wonder why hiring this professional is necessary since you already have a real estate agent and a bank working with you. But as it turns out, the real estate attorney plays an important, different role in the sale. Here are five important things your real estate lawyer will do for you during the buying process.

Read the Contract

If you are presented with a sales contract by the seller's attorney, and you try to read that contract, you will likely find that it makes little sense—unless you have a background in law. There's a lot of specific language used in contracts that sometimes has a deeper or different meaning than you might assume, so it is important to have the contract read by a professional. Your lawyer will read through the contract to make sure the terms are favorable. They can explain the contract to you in simpler terms so you completely understand what you are signing and what the implications of the sale are. If there are any terms that are not favorable to you, your lawyer will recommend ways to negotiate them with the seller's attorney.


Negotiating the price is usually up to your real estate agent, but other negotiations can be carried out by your attorney. For example, if the home needs a new roof, your attorney and the seller's attorney may negotiate to have the cost of the work split between the buyer and the seller. Negotiating can be pretty time-consuming, so the fact that your lawyer does this for you will save you a lot of time on the phone during the buying process.

Title Review

Your lawyer will also request a copy of the home's title chain from the local municipality. He or she will inspect this title to make sure the home has been properly sold from person to person. If there are any liens on the title or a previous owner who never signed off to the sale, the lawyer will get in touch with the responsible parties and arrange to have these liens cleared or the necessary documents signed. If you don't go through this legal process and buy a home with a lien on the title, you could be responsible for the money owed.

Neighborly Agreements

Sometimes, the current land owner may have a spoken agreement with a neighbor that the neighbor can hunt the land, plant a garden on part of it, or otherwise use it in some way. Now that you will be taking ownership of the land, you may not want that use to continue, or you may want to regulate it in some way via a formal contract. Your lawyer can issue letters asking various neighbors to halt activities, or they can draft formal agreements to allow such use to continue in a way that won't leave you liable for injuries or property damage caused by that neighbor's use of your land.

Examination of Local Issues

If you are not overly familiar with the area in which you are buying a home, your lawyer can offer input about the neighborhood. They will be familiar with crime rates, common insurance claims, and other common problems in the area. Since they are not trying to sell you a certain home, like a real estate agent may be, you can rely on their opinions as being fact-based and less biased. Your lawyer may steer you towards a neighborhood that better meets your needs if you ask them to do so. 

Contact a law firm like the Stoddard Law Firm for additional advice.