Do I Need a Lawyer to Buy a House?

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When you are shopping for a home, you must review several different legal contracts. These include contracts related to the purchase of the home as well as the mortgage. Before signing these contracts, you should have a good idea of what you are agreeing to, so you are not bound to onerous terms. Although a lawyer is not absolutely required to purchase a house, hiring one has certain advantages.

Sales Contract

When you are signing the contract to purchase the home, be certain that you know exactly the terms under which you are purchasing the property. Sales contracts are generally much more complex than simply offering the address of the property and the price paid for it. Many contracts specify obligations for both the buyer and seller. Unless you are familiar enough with the law to understand the contract's language and implications, someone with legal expertise should look over it first.

Mortgage Documents

Mortgage contracts, particularly ones that require the borrower to pay a variable rate of interest, are seldom straightforward. While the lender will be able to explain the terms of lease to you, it may not be in the lender's interest to emphasize the risks of taking out a mortgage. A lawyer or someone with a thorough knowledge of contract law should definitely look at this contract before you sign it.

Real Estate Agents

In some cases, real estate agents can play the roles of lawyers. A competent, licensed real estate agent will likely be able to thoroughly explain for you the terms of a particular sales contract. However, it may not be within the real estate agent's purview to look at mortgage contracts. When considering hiring a real estate agent, ask what legal experience the agent has and what help he is prepared to extend.

Considerations

The legal reference website Nolo points out that the compensation structure for lawyers and real estate agents differs greatly. Real estate agents are paid on commission, meaning that they will be paid a portion of the sale price of the home. By contrast, an attorney charges by the hour. While which will cost more ultimately depends on the sale price of the home, the structure may motivate the real estate agent to work more quickly, but not necessarily more carefully than the attorney.

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