Investing in real property or buying a home can both be great investments. Conducting a good amount of due diligence and careful planning is necessary for buyers and sellers before they buy or sell property. Documenting the transaction is equally important. The days of handshake deals are unfortunately gone. And the length and complexity of contracts used for transactions has increased commensurate with the frequency of lawsuits that arise out of these transactions.
Real estate contracts are complex legal documents. A buyer or seller who is unfamiliar with the process, who fails to carefully scrutinize the terms of their agreement or understand their legal significance, or does not know what terms and conditions are needed to protect their deal, may find themselves regretting not hiring a lawyer to help document their transaction.
Guarding against unknowns
A good real estate contract covers a vast array of topics designed to address various legal issues and factual matters that could arise. Financing, ownership, title insurance, the physical and environmental condition of the property, zoning, the language in the deed itself and whether a General Warranty Deed or Special Warranty Deed is used, and other matters may all be relevant to a transaction. If a buyer or seller does not fully review their purchase agreement, know which type of deed should be used to convey or acquire their title, or appreciate the potential pitfalls that could result from a contract that does not contain protective terms and conditions, they may end up selling their property with continued exposure to liability or buying property and acquiring title that is different from what they believed they had bargained for under the contract.
For example, a buyer who purchases real property from a party who does not hold fee simple title to it may well find that the title to the property they have purchased is flawed. Similarly, a buyer who does not read any terms related to inspections or the presence of hazardous materials may incur significant costs if they must remedy problems that they inherit through the purchase of their property. Another example is the choice of deed used to convey title to the property may leave the seller on the hook for certain defects unknown to the seller at the time of conveying the property. Also, knowing how to structure earnest money deposits from a buyer and the risks associated with certain buyer contingencies for moving forward to closing the transaction may prove beneficial to the seller and allow the seller to be compensated for the time the buyer has taken the property off of the market should the buyer default or attempt to backout of the deal. Having a real estate lawyer review a purchase agreement before buying real property can help protect a buyer so that they will not fall victim to unknown factors and conditions.
Finding an attorney for real estate help
There are a lot of lawyers in Arizona, but not all of them practice real estate law. When a prospective seller or buyer of property is in a position to move forward with documenting their transaction, they should take the time to find an experienced real estate attorney who is very familiar with real estate contracts with whom they feel comfortable reviewing their contract. Arizona real estate attorneys have knowledge of the local laws that affect land purchases and home buying and a practical understanding of how real property contracts should be structured to best protect their client. The investment in a real estate attorney review of a seller or buyer’s purchase agreement can save that seller or buyer time, money, and stress and help avoid issues arising down the road.