Why Should I Have A Real Estate Contract Attorney When Buying a House?

Property law concept. Key from real estate and gavel.

For most people, purchasing a house is the biggest investment they will ever make. Consequently, a homebuyer must have a full and complete understanding of the home buying process in order to protect themselves. While there are numerous complex documents involved in a real estate transaction, the sales contract, also known as a purchase agreement, is the most critical. It is very important for a homebuyer to fully understand the terms and conditions, regardless of what the seller promises verbally.

Since a signed sales contract is a legally enforceable document, hiring an experienced real estate attorney to review the contract with you will help to ensure that you have a complete understanding of the agreement, as well as, an understanding of any changes to the contract that are needed.

Do I Need an Attorney to Buy a House in Michigan?

Although Michigan law does not require that you hire an attorney to buy a home, it is highly recommended that an attorney review all the documents relating to the purchase of a house, including the sales contract, the title insurance policy, the homeowners association and condominium documents, the building and use restrictions, as well as, other documents that may affect a buyer’s ownership interest in the property.

It is important to note that most residential sales contract forms used by real estate agents in Washtenaw County and the surrounding areas recognize the importance of an attorney being involved in the home buying process. Standard real estate contracts used by agents contain the following statement: “All Parties Are Advised to Seek the Advice of an Attorney.”

In addition, these standard sales contracts include an “Attorney Approval” paragraph that allows a buyer’s attorney to review and approve the sales contract within a specified time. They also provide a time period for a buyer’s attorney to review and approve the title insurance policy and to review and approve all condominium, association and cooperative documents that affect a buyer’s ownership interest in the property.

Even if you think your real estate transaction is relatively straightforward, an experienced real estate contract attorney can guide you through the process, offer advice, help negotiate terms when necessary, and make sure the transaction goes smoothly. A real estate attorney can also protect your interests and help you avoid costly mistakes.

What's Included in the Sale Contract?

Since every piece of property is unique and buyers all have different expectations, a contract should be specifically tailored to protect your ownership rights and financial interests. Purchase agreements can cover any aspect of the home purchase, and a real estate contract attorney can advise you concerning its terms and provisions. However, a sales contract should include various provisions such as:

  • A description of the property, including address, property ID number and, if possible, legal description
  • All parties involved in the transaction and whether they are acting on behalf of a trust, LLC or other entity
  • The sale price and earnest money deposit
  • Contingencies that must be satisfied in order for the sale to close, including inspections of the property, financing of the sale, issuing title policy insurance, and attorney review and approval of documents
  • Proration of taxes and homeowner/condominium dues
  • Personal property that is included in the sale, such as appliances, and items that are excluded from the sale
  • Payment of municipal and special assessments
  • Payment of transfer taxes
  • Property condition and maintenance of property while under contract
  • Furnishing of Title Insurance for the buyer and survey of property if necessary
  • Acknowledgment of Seller’s Disclosure and Lead Based Paint Disclosure
  • Final walk through before closing
  • Closing date and transfer of possession date

Contact an Experienced Ann Arbor Real Estate Contract Attorney

Choosing an experienced real estate attorney to help you through the process of purchasing or selling a home is the first step in ensuring a successful and satisfying experience. In my practice at Ager Law Office, I help clients with a broad range of real estate matters, including assisting clients through every step of purchasing or selling a home.

Serving clients in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Saline, Dexter, Chelsea and throughout Washtenaw County, I offer reasonable flat fees for my legal services. To contact me about a real estate matter, call (734) 649-0784, send an email to bill@agerlawoffice.com, or use the online contact form to schedule a consultation.

Categories: Real Estate