Most home sellers hire a real estate agent to help them sell there home. Selling a property is an important step and often is accompanied by other changes in life i.e. job relocation, downsizing, divorce or separation. Real estate agents can be effective marketers of property on behalf of clients. That is there job and what they are paid to do.
However, real estate agents are not attorneys and are prohibited by law from giving legal advise.
An attorney that specializes in residential real estate should review all listing contracts, offers and counter-offers before the agreement is signed. As far as attorney fee’s, these fee’s can be agreed to by all the parties and paid out of closing so that it is unnecessary for you to come up with money out of your pocket. If the parties agree to such fee’s then the attorney’s fee’s can be paid out of closing without the necessity of up front money.
There are stages that sellers typically go through to sell a home. Each stage is critical to the success of the overall process and exists for a reason.
- Reviewing the listing information and verifying the accuracy (square feet, number of rooms, school district, taxes, home owners dues, boundaries of the lot) and commission percentages.
- Completing a seller disclosure statement, which discloses the condition of the property and known defects
- Responding to inspections conducted on behalf of the buyer
- Working with the buyers lender on appraisals and surveys
- Appearing at a title company to review the HUD-1 statement, title work, and sign the necessary legal documents to close on the property and turn over legal ownership to the buyer.
Every stage of this process is very important and exists for a reason.
Real estate agents typically get paid on commission.
Beware that a real estate agent may suggest that you enter into a sellers agency agreement prior to review of that document by an attorney.
An attorney who practices in real estate should review all agency contracts before they are formally signed and entered into.
The sellers disclosure statement is a very important document and is the source of most lawsuits in residential real estate.
Inspection reports are critical to determining the soundness of a home. All of these documents in the transaction exist for a reason. A real estate agent cannot give legal advise.
Before you sign documents it is critical that you have an attorney that is representing only your interest.
Being a real estate agent is not an easy job and the position requires the agent to wear many hats. There are many different interests and potential conflicts that can arise at each stage of the process. There is a closing company involved, appraisers, surveyors, loan originators, inspectors, radon and mold mitigators, engineers, roofers, electricians, plumbers, and pest control companies just to name a few.
You may choose to have a sellers agent represent you in the process of trying to sell your home. You may end up with a single agent that is representing both the you and the buyer. You may be working directly with a buyer without the aid of an agent in selling a property that is owner financed. When working without an agent it is even more critical to have the help of an attorney in drafting and reviewing documents since standard realtor forms are not being used.