Before the extensive use of brokers, title insurance companies, and escrow agents, an attorney was the primary professional in the purchase and sale of a home. As such, they were generally in charge of:
- Negotiating the purchase and sale,
- Drafting the purchase and sale contract,
- Reviewing the title documents,
- Assuring the validity of any title or deed,
- Advising purchasers and sellers about zoning or tax laws,
- Negotiating the finance options for the purchase of the home,
- Closing the deal,
- Handling any disputes that might arise between the purchaser and seller of a home.
An attorney can, and still does, do all of the functions mentioned above. However, because of the extensive use of brokers, title insurance companies, and escrow agents, the role of an attorney in some areas is decreasing in the purchase and sale of a home.
Problems can still arise necessitating an attorney if a broker, title insurance company agent, or escrow agent over-steps their role in a purchase and sale of a home. For example, if a broker writes the contract for the purchase and sale of a home rather than filling in blanks in a contract drafted by an attorney, they may be practicing law without authority. You can run into serious trouble if there is a dispute and your broker over-stepped their role in the purchase and sale of a home.
As a general rule, the more complex the purchase and sales agreement is, the more necessary it is to have an attorney handling your issues.
If you are planning, or are entering into a purchase or sale of a home, it is highly recommended for you to contact a real estate attorney. Only they will be able to completely explain the issues to you, protect your rights, and adequately handle any disputes that might arise in the transaction.