Why Should I Hire a Lawyer for My Residential Real Estate Closing?

Florida law does not require you to have an attorney involved with your real estate closing. So why would you undergo the extra expense, especially when you are dealing with an already lengthy list of closing costs and related outlays of funds?

A lot of deals are done with brokers instead of lawyers. It is typically cheaper that way, but when the deal is in danger of going awry due to unforeseen problems with financing, title, property condition or sellers’ remorse, a lawyer’s steady hand to resolve the issues is absolutely worth the additional cost. Here are a few illustrations:

  • Fine print in your financing — Borrowing money to purchase a home is not as straightforward as financing other big purchases, like a car. For example, a lender may bury origination fees or “points” deep in the paperwork, rolling them into your closing costs’ fine print. While it may look like you are scoring an incredibly low interest rate, the reality is that your lender is just charging you up front.
  • A seller’s second thoughts — It is also not uncommon for a seller to enter contract with a buyer only to receive a better offer afterwards. This is especially true in a sellers’ market where property inventory is low, creating a race among buyers to snag units in desirable neighborhoods. Some sellers might out-and-out break the contract, betting that the buyer will not be wise enough to retain counsel to enforce the sale. Even if the seller sticks to the deal, they may be unmotivated to negotiate in good faith should issues arise after a property inspection or a title search.
  • An all too revealing inspection — What happens when you have entered into a purchase agreement and the property inspection turns up major issues? Maybe the inspection discovers a leaky pipe that has caused hidden mold, rotted out pylons beneath the back deck or structural damage from a recent hurricane. This is where you have an opportunity to renegotiate the purchase price to reflect the repairs that will have to be made on the house.

A lawyer can read through your financing agreement and point out any irregularities. A lawyer can also protect your rights if a seller tries to back out of the deal or isn’t negotiating in good faith when an inspection report comes back with bad news.

Even if you have the rare transaction where everything goes perfectly smoothly and every party is extremely honest, having a lawyer review the deal ensures that nobody sneaks surprises into the fine print — or under the wallpaper.

In the Fort Lauderdale area, the real estate attorneys at Salas Law Firm help guide homebuyers through every step of the process, from the routine to the extraordinary. Contact us online to schedule a consultation.

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John Salas

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