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Most people wouldn’t try to pursue custody of their kids without hiring a divorce lawyer or try to fight an assault charge without a criminal defense attorney. So why do so many people try to tackle real estate projects without involving a legal expert?
The answer is alarmingly simple: Most people don’t know what a real estate attorney does. And as a result, they can’t benefit from their expertise.
If you ask the average person what they think a real estate attorney does, there’s a good chance they’ll say something like, “They help you buy a house.” And while that is perhaps their most popular offering, real estate lawyers can provide critical assistance in any situation involving real property.
Estavillo Law Group offers a wide variety of legal services, from foreclosure defense to zoning assistance to contract creation. No matter what your real property needs are, we’ve got you covered. This article will explore the role of real estate attorneys in San Francisco, their many responsibilities and how to know when it’s time to seek legal help.
Knowing when to call a real estate lawyer is tough. Here’s our advice: Always speak to an attorney before signing any contract involving real property to avoid costly, time-consuming legal battles. Call our law firm at (510) 982-3001 to schedule a phone consultation today.
Role of a Real Estate Lawyer
As established real estate attorneys, we wear many different hats. The services we provide vary from client to client, which is what makes real estate law so fascinating. Although our specific roles change depending on the details of a case, our ultimate goal is always the same: Make sure our clients get the best possible deal each and every time.
In order to deliver this, it’s not enough to be experts in the law. We have to be excellent communicators, networkers, researchers and negotiators, too. Here are some of the many duties we perform for our clients:
- Preparing and reviewing legal documents, including contracts related to purchase agreements, mortgage documents, title documents, transfer papers and tenant leases
- Providing legal representation at closings to ensure a transfer is legal, binding and in the best interest of our clients
- Overseeing home buying by preparing documents, writing title insurance policies, completing title searches, investigating liens, handling the transfer of funds and submitting financing paperwork, including the HUD-1 Form
- Resolving real estate disputes and other legal issues involving chain of title, land use, contract problems, boundary disputes and more
- Litigation for buyers and sellers who end up in court
In addition to these services, Estavillo Law Group also provides legal defense for homeowners who are being foreclosed on or anticipating foreclosure. We work with forensic auditors to investigate the reasons and circumstances for the foreclosure and offer the best legal path forward.
When You Need a Real Estate Attorney
Let’s be clear: Any time you’re dealing with real property, regardless of in what capacity, you could benefit from having a real estate attorney present. There are certain situations, however, that are more important in which to involve a legal expert than others.
Here are a few of the most important times to have a real estate attorney by your side:
- When you’re renting out your property. California landlord/tenant laws are often complicated and subject to frequent changes. These laws dictate everything from how much you can charge in late fees to how you’re supposed to dispose of the items your tenant leaves behind. In order to ensure legal compliance and to protect yourself from a nightmare tenant, it’s crucial you work with an attorney in drafting your contracts.
- When you’re buying a home for the first time. For the vast majority of people, a home is the most expensive real estate purchase they’ll ever make. That’s why, even in a pressured housing market, you should never rush into buying your first home without an attorney’s help! A real estate attorney will review real estate contracts, including mortgage loan and home purchase paperwork, to make sure you’re getting the best real estate deal possible and aren’t overlooking a critical contingency.
- When you’re buying or selling commercial real estate. Plenty of real estate agents and realtors are capable of protecting your best interests in the sale or purchase of commercial property. However, they’re also making commission off of the real estate transaction, and at the end of the day, no one is going to be as diligent about the fine print as an experienced attorney. When the stakes are high, you need a legal representative to ensure you’re maximizing your profits and savings.
Although these are perhaps the most important circumstances in which to involve a real estate attorney, they by no means represent a comprehensive list. It’s a good rule of thumb to involve a legal professional in any situation that involves real property, especially when you have a lot to lose or gain.
Real Estate Attorney FAQs
If you still have questions about a real estate attorney’s role, you’re not alone. There are a lot of misconceptions about the field of real estate law and determining whether you need one may be difficult. The best way to get clarity is by soliciting legal advice. In the meantime, check out the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.
- How much does a real estate attorney cost?
The cost of hiring a real estate attorney varies. It typically depends on two main factors: the service you’re looking for and whether your attorney charges a flat fee for a project or an hourly fee. It’s important to note that hourly fees tend to be higher in large cities than in small, rural ones.
- Do you need a real estate attorney to buy a house in California?
Hiring a real estate attorney to oversee a home sale, negotiate the purchase price and review closing documents is always a good idea, which is why many states mandate it. Although California state law does not require the presence of a lawyer at closing, a real estate attorney can be an invaluable asset during closing procedures, especially for the buyer.
- How do you find a real estate attorney?
When it comes to legal services, your choice of attorney matters. Simply going with the first one you find on the internet isn’t doing due diligence. Asking your friends and family for referrals is a good start; even then, you should still research an attorney online or contact the California bar association to learn more.
After you’ve found a reputable real estate attorney with a solid track record, it’s important to contact them and make sure they have experience dealing with the specific legal service you’re requesting.
Estavillo Law Group: Trusted Real Estate Attorneys in San Francisco
At Estavillo Law Group, we believe everyone should have access to an affordable, experienced real estate attorney. To that end, we provide top-tier legal services from winning attorneys at a reasonable price. When you’re ready to take the first step to securing your future, contact us online to schedule a case evaluation.