FREQUENTLY ASKED REAL ESTATE QUESTIONS
WHY DO I NEED A LAWYER TO BUY, SELL OR LEASE PROPERTY?
The fact is, for most people buying or selling property is the largest single financial transaction they will ever make. Moreover, it can affect your credit for years. Leases are often long term, significant financial commitments and also have long-term financial consequences.
When you buy, sell, or lease property, your real estate agent assists you through the negotiation process. When you strike a deal, whether you’re the buyer or the seller, lessor or lessee, the agent will draw up a contract for sale. When you sign it, you lock yourself into the deal.
If there’s any language included in the contract that you don’t fully understand, you need a lawyer.
Not everyone involved in the purchase, sale or lease transaction is on your side. Real estate agent wants the deal to go through because that’s how they get paid.
If something occurs at closing that you are not comfortable with, agents will likely urge you to sign the deal anyway---you can rest assured that your lawyer will object and either straighten out the problem or protect you from making a commitment that might regret later on.
I SIGNED A CONTRACT TO BUY OR SELL PROPERTY, CAN I GET OUT OF THE DEAL?
Since the primary goal of both buyers and sellers negotiating a real estate contract in good faith is to arrive at an agreement that neither party can break, a well-drafted contract will keep the parties in the deal until the property changes hands for the agreed-upon price.
In most cases, real estate contracts contain provisions -- typically referred to as ''contingencies'' -- that allow one party or the other to back out of the deal, usually without penalty, under certain circumstances. For example, most contracts are contingent upon the purchaser's obtaining a commitment for a mortgage within a specific period of time. If the buyer cannot obtain the commitment within that time -- after having made a good faith effort to do so -- then either party generally has the right to cancel the contract. Yet another contingency -- one commonly found in sales contracts for co-op apartments -- is a provision that conditions the sale upon approval by the co-op's board. If the board does not give the approval both parties are relieved of their obligations under the contract.
In most cases, the only way out of a contract is if a contingency has not been met. The time involved, the cost involved and the uncertainty of the outcome make settling a dispute in court a risky proposition for both parties so if there is a way for the parties to come to an agreement both sides can live with, that's probably going to be the best possible outcome. That is why you need to make sure that you full understand what you are signing before you sign anything.