Do I Need a Lawyer to Buy a House?

Post by: Eric Jones | Posted Date: May 20th, 2015 |

For most people, purchasing a house is the most significant financial transaction they will undertake in their life. For this reason alone, it is worth carefully considering if you have gathered the best set of professionals around you to ensure that you are both protected and making the best decisions. In many cases, a real estate lawyer is a wise addition to your home-buying team.

When It Makes Sense to Hire a Real Estate Lawyer

It is important to note at the outset that neither Ohio nor Columbus city laws require you to hire a real estate lawyer. However, you should consider several issues when deciding whether to hire an attorney:

  1. If you are an out-of-state purchaser, you will be less familiar with local and state regulations guiding a real estate transaction. The same could be true if you are a first-time homebuyer.
  2. Prior to closing, the title for the house must be reviewed by an attorney to ensure that the seller has adequate ownership and authority to complete the sale. A mortgage lender will generally have an attorney or other agent conduct a title review, but it would be wise to consider an independent assessment of the title. This will mitigate the risks of incurring additional unexpected costs associated with clearing the title.
  3. It is generally true that real estate agents use standard forms to serve as the Offer to Purchase. However, the language on the Purchase Order will often mirror the language in the Offer to Purchase. If you desire to retain items in the house such as appliances or carpet with your purchase, this language must be specifically included in the Offer to Purchase.
  4. The seller is required by law to provide you with the State of Ohio Department of Commerce Residential Property Disclosure Form. The data on this form could indicate uncommon or potentially problematic information.
  5. A “short sale” is the common way to refer to a house that is selling for less than the value of the mortgage on a home, and is generally in lieu of a foreclosure. If you are purchasing a “short sale” home, you must be prepared for a variety of additional legal and transactional complexities.
  6. A home on the market “for sale by owner” has heightened risks associated with it. These risks are largely due to the reality that a typical homeowner does not have the same expertise as a real estate agent.

In each of the above circumstances, consulting a real estate attorney would add definitive value to your real estate transaction.

Providing Legal Expertise in Real Estate Transactions

If you are in the market to purchase a home, a lawyer may be an indispensable asset for you. The seasoned real estate attorneys at Jones Law Group in Columbus, Ohio can help you review the contract, protect your rights in the real estate transaction, and ensure you have all the information you need in advance of finalizing the purchase.

Call (614) 545-9998 or fill out our online contact form to set up a free consultation and learn how our Columbus real estate attorneys may be able to help you.

One thought on “Do I Need a Lawyer to Buy a House?

  1. You mentioned that there is a big risk when a home is for sale by owner. It makes sense that this would be because a typical homeowner does not have the same expertise as a real estate agent. My sister found this out fast. She is having some legal trouble! I’ll let her know that she should hire a real estate agent to help her out.

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