When Buying or Selling a Home, Is it Necessary to Hire an Attorney?


Consulting a real estate attorney is a must if you are looking to buy or sell a home in Washington State. A property attorney in Olympia, WA, is not necessary by law, but many people nonetheless engage one to make sure the sale goes well despite potential roadblocks like paperwork errors or hostile sellers. Your home is one of the largest financial transactions you will ever make.

Why do homeowners need a real estate attorney?

A real estate lawyer’s involvement in a house purchase or sale goes far beyond the closing table. They will be there to guide you through the contract, negotiate the inspection, and offer legal advice. If the opposing party wants to make last-minute alterations or if financial issues arise, they can also negotiate on your side.

The closing attorney will double-check all of the loan documents with you to ensure they are accurate and include all the closing costs you and the seller have agreed upon. There is always a lot of chance for error and confusion in closing 100 pages or more packages. A real estate lawyer will explain all aspects of the closing documents to you, including interest and mortgage payment schedules.

A buyer’s attorney can ensure that the necessary loan documentation is prepared correctly, help you resolve any unforeseen financing issues, protect you against unwelcome alterations made by the seller, and much more. A real estate lawyer will help you with the closing process and any title issues, such as liens, that may arise right before the sale is finalized.

Why should I hire a real estate lawyer in the state of Washington?

Unlike in several other jurisdictions, Washington does not mandate the use of an attorney during the house purchasing or selling process. However, you could need one to review the final deal, aid with the closing, or write up a lease agreement if you plan to rent the place again.

Loan documentation for home purchases backed by the Federal Housing Administration, the Department of Agriculture, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac is normally non-negotiable. Having a real estate attorney review the contract to make sure there are no mistakes and that you understand all of the provisions is critical in these circumstances.

If issues, such as a lien on the property, appear on the title report of a house you are selling, you may want to see a lawyer. A real estate lien allows a contractor or creditor to claim a piece of your property as collateral for a debt. Without a “clean” title, you may have problems selling your home for a good price or finding a buyer at all.

A lien may be placed on your property even if you did not knowingly make that choice. If you fail to pay your property taxes to the federal, state, or local government, a tax lien may be placed against your property. Subcontractors may file a lien against your property if they were not paid by the general contractor who worked on your property.

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