The homebuyer will deal with many professionals during their quest forhomeownership. Homebuyers should consider hiring an attorney to protecttheir interests before signing a purchase and sale agreement. In fact, theattorney should be involved at the earliest possible stage, even beforean offer is presented.

The offer creates certain binding legal obligationsand financial commitments that last through the rest of the transaction,and can have a continuing effect even after the purchase is completed.

The lender will require the buyer to pay for the cost of their own attorneyto do the title work, prepare loan documents, conduct the closing and makefinal disbursements. That attorney is obligated to protect the interestsof the lender; in some cases the buyers interests are the same, in others, however, they differ. The lender’s attorney may not take the time to explainthe closing documents thoroughly. More importantly, the need for protectionarises before the lender’s attorney becomes involved. Consider the followingpotential problems:

  • The buyer cannot get approved for a mortgage, but the seller refusesto return the deposit, claiming the buyer did not make a diligent effortto get financing.
  • The seller has title problems delaying the closing, driving up thebuyer’s mortgage rate as a result.
  • The buyer’s lender informs the buyer that the property is in a federalflood area, requiring expensive insurance.
  • Between signing the P&S and closing the water heater breaks andthe seller does not fix it.
  • Doorways and walls are damaged by the seller’s moving company afterthe buyer’s final inspection.

These types of situations are not reasons to avoid buying a house, ratherare reasons for buyers to hire their own attorney. Standard purchase andsale agreements will not cover most of these situations, for that matter,most of these forms are drafted by organizations which are primarily involvedin representing sellers.

A home purchase is a most expensive process, and a consultation withyour own attorney is a small investment for assuring protection throughoutthe process.

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