Spooky season is nearly over, and even if you’re someone who loves a good scare, there’s one thing that should never send shivers down your spine—your real estate transaction. Yet, without the guidance of a seasoned real estate attorney, your home purchase or sale can quickly turn into a horror story!

Imagine discovering after purchasing your new home that the HOA can fine you for leaving your Halloween decorations up too long. Or waiving an inspection contingency only to unearth major issues just before sealing the deal. These chilling tales serve as cautionary reminders of the critical role a real estate attorney can play in your transaction.

WITHOUT a real estate attorney, you may end up…

Missing Crucial Contract Details

While real estate contracts might seem boilerplate, they’re full of nuances that demand careful scrutiny. Did you know that we customize the contract language in nearly all our real estate transactions to safeguard our clients’ interests? Here are some key aspects we typically address:

  • Closing Cost Credits: Understanding the implications of closing cost credits can make a significant difference in your financial outcome.
  • Closing Dates and Possession After Close: Clarity on these timelines ensures a smooth transition between buyers and sellers.
  • Tax Prorations: Without a grasp of tax prorations, you might end up with unexpected financial burdens.
  • HOA Rules and Fees: Navigating homeowner association regulations and fees are crucial to avoiding unwelcome surprises.
  • Inspection Dates and Waiver of Inspections: Deciphering inspection terms and understanding the ramifications of waiving an inspection is vital for informed decision-making.
  • As-Is Provisions: Knowing the implications of “as-is” provisions can prevent post-closing headaches.

Paying More Real Estate Tax Than Needed

Real estate taxes are paid in arrears (you pay 2022 taxes in 2023), so when you purchase a home, you and the seller split the tax bill on a prorated basis. However, if the property was reassessed at a higher value than the year before, the tax bill will probably be higher than estimated, so you might need to request an increased tax proration (the amount you ask the seller to prorate you for the days they own the property). Conversely, if you’re the seller and your property’s value has decreased, you might need a lower tax proration (although this is less likely). As your real estate attorney, we can help you negotiate an adjusted tax proration to avoid paying more than your fair share.

At a Disadvantage in Negotiating Inspections

The inspection process can be complicated without an attorney by your side. As a buyer, sellers or their attorneys may be less inclined to negotiate repairs or credit requests for issues discovered during the home inspection. With a real estate attorney, you have a seasoned negotiator to help you secure the necessary remedies or concessions.

Overlooking Important Numbers

The final settlement statement, which itemizes debits and credits on both the sale and purchase sides, can be a labyrinth of numbers. Between title fees, lender charges, closing cost credits, and tax prorations, it’s easy to miss important financial details and make mistakes. Without a professional ensuring the numbers are accurate, you can stand to lose hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

The presence of a skilled attorney can mean the difference between a smooth, predictable real estate transaction and a costly nightmare!