Q.Should I have a lawyer assist me in the home buying process?
A.Yes, but most people don't especially in California. First, the sale or purchase of a home is probably the largest transaction in which you will ever be involved and you should protect your interests. The real estate agent is primarily concerned with closing a deal. If the deal doesn't close, the real estate
agent doesn't get paid. His primary goal therefore is to close the deal, not to make sure you are adequately protected.
So What About Those Standard Forms? Although standard
fill-in-the-blank purchase and sale agreements are routinely used, there are many pre-printed purchase agreements in the real estate industry. In addition, although frequently referred to as "standard," their terms can vary widely. It is important to remember that when using any pre-printed form, the pre-printed language is for convenience only and each and every term in the document is negotiable. As with any contract, you should carefully review the terms and make sure you understand the legal
effect of each term before you sign the agreement. A lawyer can help you with all of this and should be consulted before you sign any form purchase and sale agreement.
What About The Legal Fees - Won't That Be Expensive?Although a real estate agent can fill-in a "standard" purchase agreement for you, they cannot advise you on the legal significance of the terms of your agreement. Only a licensed attorney is allowed to provide legal advice. A lawyer's fees will generally be based on the complexity of the transaction, not the purchase price of the home. As a home purchase is a relatively simple transaction, the legal fees should not be out of reach. Some lawyers are paid by the hour, while others will offer a flat fee for the job. Hiring and paying a lawyer to represent you in buying or selling a house (in which you may have a substantial amount of your net worth at risk) is advisable to ensure that your interests are completely protected.