Real Estate Negotiations
Massachusetts Real Estate Negotiations Attorney
Elder law and estate planning sometimes involve clients buying or selling real estate. And because real estate can often be one of the most valuable assets in an estate, it’s important for people and their loved ones to take each step in the real estate negotiation process carefully and correctly to ensure that everything is protected to the fullest extent and that there is a smooth sale transaction. Working with an attorney with years of real estate experience is strongly advisable.
Real estate transactions require focus and determination on the part of buyers and sellers. Often, real estate agents will advise that a buyer or seller does not need a lawyer and that the real estate agent will handle the “legal stuff.” If you find yourself in that situation, you must ask the real estate agent which law school they attended and when they were admitted to the legal bar in Massachusetts. The answer, inevitably, will be that they are not lawyers, and you should not rely upon their professed experience when negotiating the contracts for your most valuable asset.
Steps To Consider
Each step of the process requires careful legal advice.
First, the broker listing agreement often contains one-sided provisions that may be against your interest. For instance, a seller’s broker agreement may require, in some instances, that a seller pay a commission to the broker even if the property does not sell (in other words, the seller does not get paid!). A qualified attorney can help strip such one-sided provisions out of a broker listing agreement.
Second, an offer is a contract. Do not sign a contract without first having your qualified attorney review that proposed contract. Your real estate broker may pressure you to sign it without the lawyer’s involvement based on false promises that it is not a contract or that you must act immediately or the buyer will walk. Again, your lawyer should have a fax machine and an email address to ensure that they can easily review a time-sensitive Offer before you sign it.
Third, the purchase and sales agreement is the final binding contract between the parties. If anything goes wrong, this is the document that controls what happens. You cannot rely on some boilerplate P&S your broker gives you because it was not drafted based upon your home, your needs, or your protection. Your attorney can draft the P&S to ensure that you are protected fully throughout the transaction.
These days, in the down economy, real estate transactions have taken on a “Wild West” feeling at times. Buyers can make outrageous demands at the last minute – always trying to reduce the amount they will pay for your home. By working with an attorney, you can ensure that your signed Offer and P&S protect you against ruthless buyers.
Finally, if you are a buyer, you may have a mortgage bank providing you with financing and a closing attorney to assist in the sale. That closing attorney represents the bank’s interests, not yours. All too often, buyers have a false sense of security and representation that they have a bank lawyer on their side. The fact is, the bank lawyer is there to represent the bank’s interests only – you need your own personal attorney throughout the process to ensure your interests are protected.