When you engage in a real estate transaction, there’s much at stake. 

To achieve the outcome you want, it makes sense to have a trusted advisor and advocate at your side. An attorney is best positioned for this role and can help you face changing circumstances that come up in the process of buying property.

In a real estate transaction, there are a series of functions which require an attorney’s professional expertise.  An attorney can have a significant role in advising you in the following areas:

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The Brokerage Contract or Listing Agreement
If you are selling your home, an attorney can provide advice on the terms, meaning and items included in these contracts. It is also important for buyers to be aware of the description and contents of the structure being purchased.
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The Preliminary Negotiations
While price is often paramount in the minds of the parties, there are a number of other issues to consider such as terms of payment, mortgage contingency clauses, the status of fixtures or personal property, and the risk of loss by casualty pending the closing.
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The Purchase Contract
Once the parties enter into a written contract, their rights and obligations become fixed. It is the most important document in the entire transaction and will be scrutinized by an attorney
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The Mortgage and Financing Commitment
Interest rate and term (or length of the mortgage), while important, are not the only issues involved in mortgage financing. Points, commitment, service charges, prepayment penalties and a host of other factors are worthy of consideration and advice.
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Determining the Status of Title
This is generally the most crucial legal work in the transaction. Even if a title insurance policy is to be issued, it is crucial that any limitations in the title be determined and explained.
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Eliminating Title Problems
In some instances, if a problem exists in the title, some type of action may be available to cure the problem. Your attorney can initiate or review any such action.
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If a survey of the property is required, your attorney can advise you on the legal implications of the surveyor’s findings and the scope and extent of the surveyor’s certification.
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In some instances, one or more inspections, e.g., for termites, radon, water quality, smoke detectors, may be required or desirable. An attorney’s advice can be useful in determining the scope of such inspections and the methods of dealing with any problems that might be discovered.
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Drafting of Instruments
It is the attorney’s responsibility to draft or review the necessary instruments of conveyance. In some cases, a lender will retain its own counsel to prepare the mortgage and note but your attorney, of course, will be responsible for reviewing these when you are the borrower.
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The Closing
This is the stage at which the parties execute and exchange documents, make required payments and conclude the formal transaction. The law firm will attend to virtually all of the details surrounding this aspect of the transaction, including alerting you in advance of the items you will need to provide.
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Other Issues
Since some of the customs surrounding real property transactions vary in different areas, an attorney may or may not be performing a particular function in your case. For example, if you already executed a contract for the sale or purchase of a home before retaining a law firm, an attorney may be unable to subsequently change the terms of the contract.

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Our sister company, CATIC Title Insurance Company, is licensed in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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