The purchase of a new home is almost always the most expensive purchase of a person’s life. Most people build a team to support them in this endeavor, generally consisting of a real estate agent and a mortgage broker/lender. In Northern Illinois and many other regions, this team also consists of a real estate lawyer. However, whereas most buyers and sellers solicit referrals from friends and family and interview several real estate agents before selecting one, they often do not do the same to find an attorney who will work well with them.
Many real estate agents will refer their “preferred” attorneys to their clients and intimate that the clients really “should” use these attorneys. Almost all of the attorneys referred by real estate agents are very good attorneys, experienced and skilled in real estate transaction, thus gaining the trust of a real estate agent who has seen that at work. Nonetheless, a buyer or seller should always make sure they are comfortable with the attorney referred to them. Other times buyers and sellers simply use a friend or family attorney, regardless of whether or not they have any experience with real estate. “It is a simple purchase/sale of a home, how hard can it be” is often spoken by an attorney who unknowingly presumes that it is easy to handle a real estate transaction. Unfortunately, it is the client who pays the proverbial price when they work with an attorney who is not prepared to handle their real estate transaction.
The role of a real estate attorney is to protect the client. There is little potential for a conflict of interest, as the attorney does not have a vested interest in the sale closing. Therefore, a real estate attorney should be the client’s most trusted ally in the home purchase or sale and the most useful tool to reassure the client in this process. A good real estate attorney will always ensure that the client, be they a buyer or seller, are protected with regards to the attorney review and inspection contingencies, financing contingencies, and title clearance matters. A great real estate attorney will make sure that the client understands why something is being done, ensures that the client is copied on correspondence, and is always available to answer questions or reassure the clients. The complaint most often heard regarding a real estate attorney is that they are poor communicators and do not return calls and e-mails, or that the client has only interacted with the attorney’s staff and that their first interaction with the attorney is at the closing. By reaching out to a referred attorney ahead of time, a client can judge just how comfortable they will be working together. The client can also see how the attorney communicates and get an explanation from the attorney regarding what to expect in the real estate process. Thus, whenever possible, a buyer or seller should speak with several attorneys and choose one in advance of listing a home for sale or putting in an offer. This way, a client can be sure to have all their questions answered and to take any steps which will smooth the legal aspects of the closing process.
The attorneys of Boodell & Domanskis, LLC have closed thousands of real estate matters on behalf of all variety of clients. The price and the property category do not matter, all clients are equally important and treated with the respect they deserve. If you are contemplating putting in an offer for a new home or listing your home for sale, or if you are searching for commercial real estate, please contact me or any of the attorneys at our firm. We can help ensure that you receive the best advice and are made comfortable with a potentially very stressful process. In addition, we can answer all of your questions and prepare you for the entire process, thereby guaranteeing as smooth a transaction as possible.
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