When do home buyers and sellers need a real estate attorney?

Most people who are buying or selling a home in New York City don't need an attorney. A knowledgeable realtor should be able to guide you through the transaction. However, in some cases, it's wise to have an experienced New York real estate attorney to help avoid legal or financial repercussions later on.

Following are some cases where it's wise for people selling a home to consult with an attorney. If:

-- The owner is deceased and you're the executor or heir responsible for the property-- The co-owner of the home isn't being cooperative-- You have liens or judgments-- The home is in a state of distress

If you're purchasing a home, you should consider consulting an attorney if:

-- The property is bank owned or a short sale-- You believe the home may have structural issues-- You currently live out of town or out of the state-- The home is in a problematic area, such as one with high toxicity levels or one subject to particularly adverse weather conditions such as floods

Typically, a real estate attorney comes into the picture after the buyer, seller and their real estate agents have negotiated the price of the property and the terms of the sale. Hiring a real estate attorney when needed is a smart choice. Attorneys will review the contract and work to negotiate any repairs that may be needed. Their job is to help ensure that your interests are protected in the transaction.

It's important to understand that not just any attorney should help you with a real estate transaction. Asking your brother-in-law, who practices personal injury law, to look over the contract may seem like a cost-effective choice. However, New York real estate law is complicated. It's essential that you have the advice and guidance of someone experienced in this type of law. In the long run, you could save more money than you spend to hire an experienced attorney.

Source: Realtor.com, "Do I Really Need a Real Estate Attorney?," Bob Kelly, accessed Jan. 30, 2017