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Things to Look For in a Real Estate Lawyer When Buying a Home in Massachusetts
Choosing the right Massachusetts real estate lawyer is like buying a home. There are at least eight things to consider prior to making the decision. As with buying the wrong house, hiring the wrong lawyer is something that you will regret.
That is why you should treat the process of choosing a real estate attorney very seriously. In some cases, being represented by the wrong lawyer can be worse than not being represented by any real estate lawyer, though Massachusetts is one of few so-called “attorney states” that require a buyer and seller to have an attorney represent them.
So, what should you look for in a real estate attorney when buying a home in Massachusetts? When answering that tricky question, it’s critical to understand the responsibilities and obligations of a lawyer and how he or she can help you perform your real estate transaction.
Why Do You Need a Massachusetts Real Estate Lawyer?
There are thousands of attorneys specializing in real estate law in Massachusetts alone. “Why do we need so many real estate lawyers?” some of you might wonder. Well, there’s a reason why there are so many attorneys in this legal field.
According to the National Association of Realtors, 5.34 million existing homes were sold in 2018. As you can guess, many of these sellers and buyers benefited from the services of real estate lawyers. However, not all of the attorneys are equally good.
“But what does a real estate attorney do?” and “Is it possible to buy a home without hiring a lawyer?” are probably the two questions on your mind right now. No, you cannot conduct a real estate closing in Massachusetts if you are not represented by a lawyer. Massachusetts is one of the states that require the presence of lawyers during real estate closings.
What Do Real Estate Lawyers Do?
Typically, these lawyers are hired at the beginning of a real estate transaction to advise the parties and guide the process from the get-go. In many instances, sellers and buyers of property choose to hire a lawyer to act as a litigator when a dispute arises in the course of a transaction.
Real estate lawyers are divided into two groups:
- Commercial (working with businesses to buy, sell, lease, and develop properties); and
- Residential (preparing and managing mortgage, title, and closing documents when an individual is purchasing a home).
In a nutshell, the job of a real estate attorney is all about negotiating and making a transaction happen in a fair manner and compliance with Massachusetts law. Typically, a real estate lawyer comes on board after the real estate agents have established the selling price and terms of the contract.
The responsibilities of a Massachusetts real estate lawyer include reviewing the contract, negotiating repairs, and making other changes to the terms of the deal. A lawyer will also attend a closing, which is the final step in executing a real estate transaction to ensure that everything goes fairly and smoothly. In some cases, mediation and arbitration may be required to resolve real estate disputes.
The Law Offices of Richard Mucci has represented buyers, sellers, property owners, managers and investors in various types of real estate transactions, including but not limited to:
- Purchase and sale agreements;
- Real estate closings;
- Condominium ownership;
- Condominium development or trust disputes;
- Financing and rent disputes;
- Landlord-tenant disputes;
- Evictions; and
- Adverse possession and right-of-way disputes.
What To Look For When Choosing A Real Estate Attorney
There are several factors you need to pay closer attention to when looking for a skilled real estate lawyer in Massachusetts:
- Location. When choosing a real estate attorney, it is essential to look for a well-versed professional who is familiar with local ordinances and laws. After all, real estate laws vary significantly from state to state.
- Years of experience. The more complicated the real estate transaction is, the more experienced your lawyer needs to be. For complicated disputes or transactions, look for an attorney who has been practicing law for 15 or 20 years.
- Education. Where a lawyer earned his or her law degree will also have a tremendous impact on the success of your case. If they attended a law school in another state, make sure the lawyer has many years of experience practicing in the state of Massachusetts.
- Similar cases in the past. Find out whether a real estate lawyer has handled real estate transactions similar to yours because you need someone who has a clear plan of action for your particular situation.
- Attorney’s fees. When working with real estate attorneys – or any other lawyers for that matter – it is best to negotiate a price before hiring the lawyer. The contingency fee or fee per hour depends on the complexity of your case. You can estimate attorney’s fees in your particular case by contacting our Massachusetts real estate lawyer.
- Who will be working on your case? Real estate attorneys often work with paralegals and junior attorneys, which is why you need your prospective lawyer to be upfront about whether anyone will be working on your case beside him or her.
- Reputation. If a real estate lawyer can provide references (i.e., former clients or other real estate professionals), it is a good sign that he or she is confident about their his/her reputation.
- Communication. As you may know, communication is key in any legal matter, but even more so when it involves real estate transactions. Find out how often, when and how you can contact your real estate lawyer and whether there will be other legal associates that you can talk to when your attorney is out of town or not available.
Our Massachusetts real estate attorney may be exactly who you are looking for. Real estate is a serious investment, but so is a lawyer. Our lawyer at The Law Offices of Richard Mucci will help protect your investments and ensure that the terms in your purchase and sale agreement are fair and reflect your best interests. Call our offices at 781-729-3999 to get your free consultation today.