12 Things Your Real Estate Attorney Wished you Knew

June 2, 2021 by 

Buying or selling a home can be a long and sometimes difficult process, especially if you have never done it before. From working with an agent to hiring a real estate attorney it’s important you don’t miss any key steps throughout the process. Whether you live in Phoenix, AZ, Denver, CO, or Charleston, SC hiring a Real Estate Attorney and working with the right team of professionals will only ensure your homebuying or selling process goes smoothly. To help with this process we asked experts from across the country to share their top tips with you.


1. Don’t try to rush through the process

A big mistake that experienced real estate buyers make is that they try to rush through the process. They feel like they understand exactly how it is going to work because they have bought a home before. So, they end up rushing, making a few key mistakes in the process. Remember that this is an important financial decision with substantial legal implications and it is important to take the time to get it right. Nobody should try to rush through this process when they are looking for a new home. -David Rocheford, ​The Law Office of David R. Rocheford, Jr. 

2. Understand how much paperwork is involved

Attorney’s wish buyers and sellers understood just how much paperwork will be involved! Many first-time buyers and sellers think they’ll sign their name once and the closing will be complete. In reality, buyers and sellers need to sign 10+ documents, and often much more! -Sean O’Dowd, Close Concierge

3. Have your funds squared away before you start house hunting

A good real estate agent will tell you to always know where the money is coming from before you even start looking. In real estate, acting fast gives you a HUGE advantage over other buyers. If your dream home goes on the market, you want to be ready to put in an offer as soon as possible. In order to do that, you need to have the funds already squared away so that you can make the most competitive offer upfront. –Agent Advice

4. Be prepared to make fast, difficult decisions

One thing that buyers need to be prepared for is the incredible speed at which they need to make major financial decisions. In a hot market like Phoenix, Denver, Boise or Salt Lake City it’s hard to find a median-priced, detached, single-family home that survives past the first weekend. When a buyer asks “what do you think we should offer?”, I tell them that if you really want this house you need to make your best and final offer up front. In 2021 the asking price is more like the starting bid at an auction and the cash-heavy, decisive buyers are winning. –Michael Bennett, Atlas Real Estate

5. Hire a good home inspector

A competent home inspector can uncover expensive construction defects you may not see during a walkthrough of your potential dream home – allowing you to walk away before closing. However, if you discover a problem after closing that the sellers did not reveal, your options are to pay for the fix yourself or file a failure to disclose lawsuit. So do yourself a solid: hire a good home inspector. –Robinson & Henry, P.C.

6. Don’t forget to update your estate plan

One of the biggest mistakes we see is when clients forget to update their estate plan with the new home or property recently purchased. Specifically, the mistake occurs by not updating their plan to include the deed and title to their new home in their Will or titling the new asset incorrectly. Secondly, it’s important to give implicit instructions on how you would like your home or property distributed upon your death, including any joint owners with right of survivorship. It is integral to update your estate plan every three years or after key life events, such as moving to a new state and/or selling or buying a new home. –Wiles Law

7. Understand your credit score

It’s so important to Understand your credit score and what type of impact that is going to have on your ability to get a mortgage and finance the home you intend to purchase. Knowing your credit score is one of the best tips we can give to buyers who want to begin the home buying journey because it truthfully starts with being ‘able’ to buy a house. If you are not able to buy a house then you need to figure out what needs to happen in order for you to be able to, and that begins with understanding your credit score and personal finances. -Ryan Fitzgerald, UpHomes

8. Take time to properly complete the seller disclosure

When selling a home take the time to properly complete the required seller disclosure. Failing to disclose information about your home that could materially impact a buyer’s decision to purchase can result in legal liability. Read the questions carefully and answer truthfully and completely. In certain situations, it may be prudent to seek legal advice in complying with disclosure requirements. –Bailey Law Firm  

9. Know that a Real Estate Attorney can save you money

I wish that home buyers and sellers knew that using a Utah real estate attorney can eliminate a large amount of commission owed to a Real Estate agent. A Real Estate Attorney is also an expert in drafting contracts and can craft and create a sale agreement that specifically protects your interests. -Brian K. Jackson, Brian K. Jackson, LLC

10. Talk with your agent to find out when you will have access to your new home

In South Carolina, there are some counties in which, traditionally, the keys are not transferred to the buyer until after the deed records.  Recording can sometimes be delayed until the day after closing, therefore, please speak with your Agent to discuss when you will be given access to the property. -Angie D. Knight, Grand Strand Law Group, LLC

11. Be aware that buyers need their own title insurance policies

Buyers need their own title insurance policies! Title problems could be as mundane as a border dispute and the insurance policy you bought for your lender will not provide any coverage. Only your own title insurance policy can protect you and they are relatively inexpensive compared to what you could be paying in future lawyer fees. –Phillip A. Curiale, Curiale Hostnik PLLC

12. Communication is the key to a successful closing

When a closing attorney reaches out to the consumer there is a genuine purpose. Most often the closing attorney is in need of vital information that will keep the closing on schedule. For example, the closing attorney may reach out to the seller to get mortgage account information, homeowners association contact information, or the last four digits of social security numbers so that the closing attorney can get information to clear liens. The closing attorney may also reach out to a buyer for information about the lender, whether or not the buyer wants a survey, how the buyer intends to hold title, or if the buyer plans to attend closing or close via power of attorney. Thus, when the closing attorney’s office reaches out to the consumer it is imperative that the consumer respond immediately as the request is most often time-sensitive. –Blair Cato Pickren Casterline, Podcast: Dishin’ Dirt



Lexi is part of the content marketing team and enjoys writing about real estate and design trends. Her dream home would be a contemporary home with an open floor plan, lots of windows, and a waterfront view.

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