The need for an experienced attorney to represent a buyer or a seller in a real estate transaction has never been more important than in today’s troubled economic times. Mortgage rates are falling which has or could lead to a boom in refinancing. There is also a considerable amount of distressed or foreclosed properties on the market which may present the potential purchaser with both an incredible bargain yet also contain hidden pitfalls in the areas of hidden defects or deferred maintenance. Finally, many of the exotic mortgage packages that gave rise to the current economic crisis have hidden clauses that make it extremely difficult to refinance or sell the property.
Given these realities, the need for an experienced lawyer to advise the purchaser or seller in a real estate transaction is all the more critical. The attorney can advise the client as to the precise terms of the mortgage and advise them as to whether there are any clauses in the mortgage that could present future problems. Similarly, counsel can review title documents to ensure that a foreclosure was performed correctly and the former owner will not have a claim to the property in the future. Additionally, counsel can advise the purchaser as to the pros and cons of various insurance products that are available, such as title insurance, and what claims the title insurance policy will or will not respond to.
Counsel should even be involved in the initial negotiation process, which would include review and editing of the Purchase and Sale Agreement. Many Purchase and Sale Agreements have strict deadlines which must be adhered to. The failure to adhere to these deadlines could result in significant financial loss to the parties. In short, while the urge may be present to save money at closing, the long terms risks associated with such a strategy greatly outweigh the upfront costs.
Andrew J. Piela is a Director at Hamblett & Kerrigan, P.A. Mr. Piela concentrates his practice in civil litigation, family law, probate and land use litigation. You can reach Attorney Piela by e-mail at [email protected].