Should You Hire a Real Estate Agent or also an Attorney at Law to Buy a House?

Tiziana Paris
Tiziana Paris, Attorney at Law

Reasons to Hire an Attorney at Law

The process of buying a house is complex, and most people find it's easiest to get through with not just a Real estate Agent but also an Attorney at Law by their side. Paperwork will be flying around like a small tornado, and it can be helpful to have someone familiar with the legal process to deal with it. Other parts of the transaction will be happening quickly too -- hiring inspectors, negotiating over who pays for needed repairs, keeping up good relations with the sellers (through their agent) and more. All of this is second nature to an experienced Attorney at Law. What's more, experienced Attorneys at Law usually have contacts with good inspectors, mortgage loan brokers, and others who can make your buying process easier. And they know what's considered appropriate behavior and practice in your geographical area.

Don't Use just the Real estate Agent

One of the best reasons to hire an Attorney at Law is that the real estate agent may pressure you to let him or her represent both of you, in a "dual agency" . The less scrupulous sellers' agents don't make it clear that they're working for both people, but if only one agent is involved in your transaction, it's fair to assume that the agent's loyalties are with the seller. It's better to have your own Attorney at Law  who has to protect your own interests.

Reasons to Hire an Attorney

During the purchase process, legal issues may arise that your real estate agent can't answer. In that case, 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 what if you’d like to rent the home for an extended period, such as a year, before you’re obligated to buy it? That will require drawing up an unusual lease. 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.