Real Estate Law Attorney in Pennsylvania
For the average person, buying or selling a home represents a transaction involving the most significant asset they will own in their lifetime. Real property sales and purchases involve multiple binding contracts and legal documents; a real estate lawyer can prepare and review these documents, look out for your best interest, and will ensure the process goes smoothly to protect your investment.
Kelly Adams is an experienced real estate law attorney who can help buyers and sellers with the complicated process of real property transfers. She can also assist with easement, and boundary disputes, preparation of property deeds and lease agreements.
How The Real Estate Transaction Process Works
When you buy or sell real estate for the first time, you may wonder what to expect. Real estate transactions are complicated and may differ slightly from case to case, but in general, most sales follow a process similar to this:
Listing and Finding a Buyer
- The seller decides to sell their house and chooses a real estate broker (i.e., a real estate agent or realtor) to help them list the home and find a buyer.
- The seller and broker sign a contract called a listing agreement. This agreement typically includes a provision that gives the broker a commission, in the form of a percentage of the sale, in exchange for the broker’s work to sell the house.
- The home is listed for sale, and interested buyers make offers on the property called purchase contracts.
Negotiations and Inspections
- After the seller accepts an offer from a buyer, they negotiate the terms of the sale and enter into a legally binding contract called an agreement of sale.
- The parties will open an escrow account, and the buyer will deposit earnest money. These are funds intended to protect the seller if the buyer backs out of the sale.
- Next, the buyer will hire an attorney or title company to perform a title search to ensure the title is free of encumbrances.
- The title searcher reviews the property’s sale history to create a chain of title and checks for encumbrances such as outstanding mortgages, liens, unpaid taxes, and easements.
- During this time, it is common for the buyer to conduct physical inspections of the home per the terms outlined in the sale contract.
- If unexpected encumbrances or problems surface during an inspection or title search, it may be necessary for the buyer and seller to renegotiate the terms of the sale. If the parties can’t reach a new agreement, sales often fall through at this stage.
Closing and Legal Transfer
- Once both parties are satisfied with the terms of the sale, they will attend a closing meeting.
- At closing, the financing documents are signed, and ownership of the property is legally transferred to the buyer. The buyer, seller, real estate agents, and the parties’ lawyers typically attend the closing.
The above steps are complicated, but they represent only a brief overview of a simple example. There can be many other components, such as loan approval for the buyer, obtaining homeowner insurance, recording the title at the county, and unexpected bumps along the way. Having a real estate law attorney on your team during negotiations and before signing contracts is critical.
Why Do You Need a Real Estate Law Attorney?
In Pennsylvania, your real estate agent may offer to prepare the necessary contracts and assist you in reviewing the closing documents. While this is convenient, it is important to remember that real estate agents have their own interest in selling a property because they get a commission from the sale. Although most real estate agents are ethical, your best interest is not their top priority. If a mistake is made or a contract is not in your best interest, you will be the party held responsible, not your real estate agent.
An attorney like Kelly Adams can ensure that your listing agreement is fair and does not benefit your real estate agent disproportionately. She can prepare your sale agreement and review closing documents. If a contract or offer is not in your best interest, she will identify the problem and help you develop a counteroffer or revise the contract.
Consult With a Real Estate Attorney Adams
If you are facing real estate litigation, are buying or selling property, are involved in a boundary dispute with your neighbor, or need an attorney to prepare a lease or quit claim deed, Attorney Adams can help. Call (610) 222-6122 to ensure your real estate transaction goes smoothly or for help preparing real estate contracts and documents.