Buying and selling real estate has many legal pitfalls for the unwary. While a skilled and experienced real estate salesperson will be familiar with many of the legal issues involved in selling your home, they can’t offer you proper legal advice. Therefore you’ll need to appoint a conveyancing lawyer (also known as a solicitor) to help.
If you don’t have a lawyer, your salesperson should be able to explain how you can find one and possibly provide a selection of reputable professionals in your area.
While you definitely need a lawyer to complete the settlement of your sale, you technically don’t need a lawyer to sign a Sale and Purchase Agreement. However, it’s wise to contact your lawyer as soon as you have decided to put your property on the market.
When selling, if you want your salesperson to send a copy of the offer to your lawyer before you sign, let your lawyer know what’s happening beforehand. Make sure they can act quickly when it arrives (as they might be busy or on holiday). You need to be pushing forward with your salesperson as soon as they receive a written offer.
Here are some key things to remember:
You might need to contact your lawyer immediately if your sale is unusual in some way. Some examples are:
If you need to be out of town during the selling process, you may also need to talk to your lawyer about signing a power of attorney document so that someone else can sign urgently required documents in your absence.
Many lawyers offer a fixed-fee service for sale and purchase transactions (also known as “conveyancing”). They are usually happy to include a pre-contract consultation as part of that fixed-fee service. I suggest you give them a call as soon as you think you might sell, and they will guide you through the process.
Although a real estate transaction looks straightforward from the outside, and most sales go through without any problems, there are times when things may go wrong. Your lawyer is there to avoid these sorts of issues, or to help you if anything goes wrong.
Your lawyer’s primary responsibilities are:
As you can see, solicitors have a critical role to play when buying or selling a property. Although the cost of using their service can seem high, in reality, it is a small price to pay when weighing this up against the potential costs of a transaction that goes bad.
I like the old expression – “If you think a good lawyer is expensive, you should see how much a bad one can cost you!”
That’s all for this post. Catch you again soon!
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