The idea of purchasing a house can feel overwhelming. With hundreds of thousands of dollars involved, you likely will take your time to find the right house. You may have an offer outbid by another party, or you may need to negotiate a price with a seller. Then you will have another challenge to face: going through the closing process.
Many homeowners don’t completely understand the closing process and may not realize why hiring a real estate attorney can be beneficial at this time (and even before you sign a purchase agreement). You may feel you want to avoid using an attorney because of the potential costs involved. Yet, you may not realize how much a real estate attorney can help you versus using a title company when you close on a home.
Real estate attorney vs. title company
First, you should understand that in Texas, you don’t have to hire an attorney to help you with a real estate purchase. Yet, often you can secure a real estate attorney’s services for nearly the same amount as using a title company for a property closing. Some real estate attorneys even offer their services on a flat-fee basis.
Both an attorney and a title closing company will conduct a title search on the home you intend to buy, to see if:
· The deed has any problematic errors or is a legal deed.
· An unknown heir may have ownership of the property.
· Unknown debts are charged against the property (liens or tax debts, for example).
Where hiring an attorney to secure a clean property title is a distinct advantage is if any problems arise in the title search. An attorney can advise you on your legal options and how to best proceed. A title company doesn’t have the authority to advise you on legal matters.
Other ways real estate attorneys can be beneficial
Hiring a real estate attorney also can help you if you discover:
· The property has any easements on it, which may hinder your ability to use the property in the way you intended.
· The boundary lines of the property are in dispute.
· You discover the home has major problems the sellers didn’t disclose.
If you are purchasing a home in foreclosure or one being sold by an estate, having a real estate attorney can ensure you have someone looking out for your best interests. Taking the time to resolve any legal issues before you close on the home often is the most cost-effective option and then you will know you aren’t likely to face future problems down the road.