Do You Need a Lawyer to Buy Real Property?

Need to Buy a Property?

Need a Lawyer to Buy Real Property?

I suppose you will get a different answer if you ask a lawyer than if you ask a realtor.  The simple fact is that unless a real estate broker is also a licensed attorney, they are not legally able to or qualified to provide legal advice to you about the legal issues that may arise in your transaction.  In situations where everything goes as planned, some transactions may be handled by a professional, experienced, real estate broker without the assistance of a real estate attorney and without there being a problem.  However, if legal issues or problems arise, the broker is not able to provide legal advice and would advise his clients of this and that they should consult with a real estate attorney.   Though it is not required to have Attorney in California for a real estate transaction, a real estate attorney may often be worth it in many respects.  Attorneys can be of assistance in many ways including with paperwork, filings, title searches, negotiations, title issues, discrimination and other legal issues that arise during a real estate transaction.

It’s Just Forms, Right?

Sometimes the contracts, disclosures and agreements are on commonly used forms provided by the California Association of Realtors.  And sometimes they’re not.  In the former situation, using the standard forms, though a Broker may help you properly complete the forms, they will not be able to address legal questions regarding particular questions you may have as to risks and liabilities associated with the use of one form or another or one provision or another of your particular agreements as it may relate to your liability.  Nor will a non-attorney broker be able to be useful if there is a benefit for you to use contracts and provisions that are drafted for your particular needs and issues and which are not the standard contract forms and provisions. A real estate attorney can help you understand the meanings of one provision versus another and make meaningful decisions regarding the content of your agreements and help you draft those agreements to address your particular issues.  If you are using the form agreements, a real estate attorney can provide legal advice and answer legal questions which a broker could not regarding your particular exposure, needs, liabilities and other legal issues that could become pitfalls for you.  Without having a real estate attorney on your team, you may find yourself in trouble if legal issues arise and there is no one on your team who is able to address them.  When it comes to real estate matters, the values are simply too high not to have a full and good understanding of any legal concerns or questions you may have about your real estate transaction should such concerns or questions arise.

What Else Can A Real Estate Attorney Do For Me?

If there are other legal issues relating to discrimination, zoning, title, easements, or statutory or regulatory issues, you may also find yourself unable to discern or understand those issues and perhaps won’t even know about those issues until it is too late without the help of a real estate attorney. If your broker is able to identify that such issues exist, they will have to punt as they are neither qualified nor legally permitted to give you legal advice.  In some cases, you may just not find out until it is too late. There are many things that Attorneys and Brokers can both help you with from helping with title reports and insurance through guiding you through statutory compliance whether as a buyer or a seller with all the state and local requirements that apply to your transaction.  In the event legal issues arise in the course of those events, a real estate Attorney would then be required.

Title Searches

Though anyone can get a title report, only an attorney is able to provide legal advice about any issues identified on the title report. If a title report reflects that a property is simply free of any encumbrances, liens, judgments, or issues within the chain of title, there may be nothing for a real estate attorney to do. But in many cases, there are liens, easements, deeds of trust, and other matters which may cause title to be less than clear and which often require legal advice. Title issues are of the utmost urgency to understand and address. Only an experienced real estate attorney is able to competently render legal advice regarding these issues when they arise. Mistakes and issues in title can cause someone to entirely lose their interest in their real estate if not handled properly. Often Attorneys, particularly Real Estate Attorneys or those who handle Trust and Probate matters, have special working relationships with title search companies who assist attorneys in getting the best and quickest data available regarding a particular property in real time. Where there are title issues, liens, easements, or judgments, it may be necessary to speak with a real estate attorney to ensure your full understanding of the issues with the property as they relate to fundamental rights and obligations in connection with the property.

As To Any Legal Problem that might otherwise derail a transaction or lead to litigation, with a Real Estate attorney you can attempt to resolve, negotiate, or otherwise figure out how to deal with the issue in a manner that is in your best interest. Generally, by the time a case gets to a real estate attorney, the parties are already at a total impasse and have perhaps done things to damage their own causes. By having a real estate attorney involved in your transaction, future lager problems may be avoided by flushing out those issues early enough to negotiate or find a way around them.

The Bottom Line

As a general matter, you are always better off with an attorney on your side than without one. In some cases, an attorney’s involvement may make all the difference in the world. IN other cases, it may make no difference other than to provide some peace of mind in answering your questions and helping you understand your situation and all the options in front of you. But for the pesky fact that most attorneys want to be paid and are not cheap, there would be no reason for everyone to not have their own counsel in a real estate transaction. But attorneys are not cheap and do require someone to pay for them so whether or not to hire an attorney and what attorney to hire if you choose to hire one are ultimately personal decisions. There is no transaction that is risk free but certainly the potential for legal problems from one transaction to another varies widely. When legal issues or concerns do arise, you will need the advice of an attorney. In many cases, by having an attorney involved early, problems may be addressed preemptively before they become problems. It is a cost benefit analysis with the cost being the cost of the attorney, which m ay be several thousand dollars at a minimum if you are in for smooth sailing, or much more if your potential problems erupt into more serious problems. Similarly, the risk may be anything from the inconvenience of tenants who won’t leave down to major problems with title or the properties foundation.

What Will It Cost Me?

That all depends. The initial consultation is free. Often, particularly if you provide your documents ahead of time, the initial consultation may be enough for you to have your questions and your issues resolved. It is not an unusual situation for real estate owners to sometimes have incorrect understandings for very long periods of time both about their own situations and sometimes about the law. Where the initial consultation itself results in some sort of closure or understanding that doesn’t involve professional services being provided in the future, there is simply no charge at all. As for those who wish to retain the Law Office of Marc Grossman, there are many different ways that our clients retain us and there is no one size fits all. Depending on your situation, it may make most senses for you to hire Grossman Realty instead of the Law Office of Marc Grossman in which case you may be able to get your legal services for free.

Your Attorney May Be Free

When you hire a Real Estate Broker who is also a Real Estate Attorney, like Marc Grossman, that Broker/Attorney in the fulfillment of their duties owed to you is required to fulfill all their fiduciary obligations owed both as an Attorney and as a Real Estate Broker. The Fiduciary Duties that a Real Estate Broker owes to his Principals may be found in this article. In such a situation, where your Real Estate Broker is also a Real Estate Attorney, the advice they will give you will go beyond the advice of a broker and will include advice and answers to all legal issues, questions and concerns that you may have. By having the legal issues addressed by an attorney as early as possible in the process, the risk of escalation of such issues to litigation or to other extraordinary action is significantly decreased. Provided that no legal issues rise to that level, all the legal issues, questions, concerns will be addressed by a real estate attorney whose advice will be rendered without charge and as part of the services provided in his capacity as your Broker.

Though elevation of legal issues to the level of litigation or other extraordinary action is not included in

The Free Consultation

Because there is never a problem until there is a problem and because you wont know if you don’t ask, the initial real estate consultations with Attorney and Broker Marc Grossman are always free. Marc will review your documents and do his best using his 24 years experience litigating real estate matters and his knowledge as a real estate broker to help you understand your rights and figure out what is in your best interest. Whether or not there is a way for us to help you, we will always do our best to provide the best advice and direction for you to help you with your issues whatever they are.

CALL (909) 60-7426 or email to schedule your free consultation.

The attorneys at Grossman Real Estate, Inc, and Law Offices of Marc Grossman, APC, have been advising our clients on real estate, business and estate planning issues for over 24 years. If you have questions concerning legal matters, give us a call at (909) 608-7426 or e-mail Our initial consultations are always free and you may get you the answers you need for the questions you have.

The information presented in this Article is not to be taken as legal advice. Every person’s situation is different. If you are facing a legal issue of any kind, get competent legal advice in your State immediately so that you can determine your best options.

Our team of expert Attorneys and Brokers includes the most experienced, trusted and respected professionals in our community.  Our Consultations are always free and your best interest is always our only concern.

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