For many home buyers, there is no need to get a real estate attorney involved in the process. Legal matters of home buying are relatively straightforward. So how do you know when to talk to a real estate lawyer? Here are four signs you need a real estate attorney:
1. You're buying a home with an existing tenant
If you're not interested in becoming a landlord, buying a home with a renter occupying it can be tricky. Even legal evictions require a 30 to 60 days notice. If the tenant decides to fight the eviction, the process can take months in court. In the meantime, you won't be able to move into your home, and your home may even be damaged by the tenants. If the tenant is there illegally, this can complicate the process more. A real estate attorney can help you navigate the legal issue.
2. You're buying a home sight unseen
If you're from out of town and are buying a home that you have not personally inspected, you need a real estate attorney. An attorney can look over the inspection report and paperwork for irregularities or fraud. An attorney can also hire an inspector on your behalf to check for damages. An attorney will also investigate to be sure you are not scammed. Even if you've already bought the home, an attorney can help you seek a claim if the home was damaged, not as advertised, or if the seller committed fraud.
3. You find serious issues after moving in
You found your dream home, it cleared inspection, and you signed the paperwork. Unfortunately, after living there for several months, the home has a major issue. This issue can range from the discovery of asbestos, a roach or termite infestation, or extensive, hidden damage. You will have to take the seller to court, and you will need to try and prove that the seller knew about these issues and tried to hide them. You may also need to take the inspector or real estate agents to court, but you won't be able to do this without an attorney.
4. You're buying a foreclosed home
Foreclosed homes are great deals, and offer an opportunity for those buying their first home or those who are looking for an investment property. But, don't let the bargain fool you. If the previous owner owed back property taxes, you will be expected to pay them or risk losing the home. Chances are good that if the previous owner didn't pay their mortgage, they didn't pay their tax bill either. A real estate lawyer can research the home's previous owners and history to determine if property taxes are owed. He or she can also help you sue the previous owner for payment of the back taxes.
If you find yourself in any of the above situations, don't hesitate to consult a lawyer. To learn more, contact a company like Bangs McCullen Butler Foye & Simmons LLP.