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Why You Need A Lawyer When Buying or Selling Real Estate

If you are buying or selling real estate, it is pretty much a given that you will need a realtor.  But is that the only professional you need to complete your real estate transaction? When you consider the magnitude and complexity of the transaction that is about to play out before you, it makes sense to have a team of professionals on your side, not just one.
 
There is no one better to assist you in the purchase or sale of real estate than a realtor.  A realtor has access to the available properties for sale in your desired location and price range, as well as knowledge about the school district, shopping amenities, quality of life issues and real estate taxes, all of which are vital to your subsequent enjoyment of your real estate. They have access to tremendous data bases and can assist you in easily locating your perfect property.
 
Once the perfect property is located, here’s where the realtor could use a little help – Contract Preparation.  If you Agreement of Sale is simple, the realtor can fill in the blanks quite well. They insert the purchase price, deposit monies, settlement date, and all the other little fill in the blanks that the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors (PAR) Agreement of Sale form requires.  However, and this is a BIG however, if addenda or special clauses are required, it is best to have a real estate lawyer draft them.  Why? Because, although realtors are experts in finding properties or assisting you to sell properties, they are simply not experts in drafting contracts. If the realtor needs to do anything but “fill in the blanks,” get a real estate attorney to draft a legally enforceable contractual clause. 
 
Why do you need a real estate attorney? Because you want the contractual addendum or clause to be legally enforceable.  Every month, several contracts are presented to me that were drafted by realtors that are simply not legally enforceable.  When I tell the parties seeking performance that their realtor drafted addendum is legally deficient and performance cannot be required, they usually get upset that what they thought was going to happen is not going to happen because they chose an expert in putting buyers and seller together to draft their legal documents as opposed to a real estate lawyer, an expert in drafting legally enforceable contracts.  Sure, they may have saved a little bit of money, but how does that compare to having an unenforceable contract?
 
Caution: all lawyers are not the same. Please note that I said to use the services of a “real estate lawyer.”  This means don’t use the lawyer who did your divorce, your slip and fall case, your will or speeding ticket, because they most likely will know only a little more than your realtor about real estate contracts. And that’s not enough.   

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