Thursday, January 24, 2008

Why do I need an attorney?

One question that many buyers and sellers of real estate commonly ask, especially those from outside the upstate New York area, is “Why do I need an attorney?” In many areas of the country, real estate purchases, sales, and financing are handled by settlement or title companies, who usually are involved in all aspects of the property transfer—on behalf of the seller, the buyer, the lender. In virtually all of upstate New York, each party has the option to obtain their own lawyer to make certain that their interests are adequately protected. This is the case in the greater Monroe County area, whose realtors and attorneys have formed standard real estate practices that are also used in the counties of Livingston, Ontario, and Wyoming, as well as much of the Finger Lakes region, and a number of surrounding areas.

Although an attorney has numerous tasks and responsibilities in any real estate transfer, from a buyer or seller’s perspective, the benefits of hiring a real estate attorney fall in to the following general categories: (1) determining what is necessary to make sure the transfer is completed in a timely manner; and (2) protection of the client’s interests.

“We have to be in the house no later than February,” or “I must have this money before my daughter goes to college,” are very typical and real concerns for our clients. Since the process will differ depending upon the nature of the property being bought, sold, or financed (commercial, residential, agricultural, new-build, etc.), an initial analysis of the client’s goals are crucial to properly arranging a real estate transfer to meet their needs. By analyzing which steps need to be taken prior to closing a purchase or sale, we can advise clients on timing, potential delays, legal impediments or pre-conditions, and any actions that may be taken to make a deal go smoothly.

Of course, nobody wants to buy a “lemon.” Real estate, unlike a car, cannot be returned if it turns out to be rotten. Absent egregious or fraudulent conduct by one of the parties, a real estate transfer is usually final after closing. Even when one of the parties has done something clearly wrong, a long and expensive lawsuit may be the only resort to remedy the problem created. Problems stemming from the physical condition of a home or real property are just a part of the equation, as the legal “condition” of the property can greatly affect your use and enjoyment of the property.

As attorneys, our job is to help you understand the potential pitfalls and risks inherent in every real estate transfer, and help spot the ones that are unique to yours. If you are planning or investigating a potential real estate transfer and have questions, please call us or post a comment, and we will be happy to discuss it with you.

Kruk & Campbell, P.C.
Attorneys at Law
7312 East Main Street
P.O. Box 30-A
Lima, New York 14485
(585) 624-5030

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