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There are many important contingencies contained in a real estate contract.  You should always speak with an attorney before signing any contract. Whether you are a first time home buyer, moving up to your dream home, or downsizing, buying or selling real estate can feel overwhelming. There are a lot of steps involved. Attorney Alice M Breding, Esq. is an experienced real estate attorney who can put your mind at ease so that the entire transaction is less stressful for you. It is her job to answer your questions and help ensure you are comfortable with the transaction. She is dedicated to providing exceptional service and communication to you for a smooth and successful transaction.


Real estate transactions involve numerous people and documents. The Real Estate Closing requires that all interested parties assemble to finalize the transaction. Closings involve the execution and delivery of all required documents simultaneously with the payment of the purchase price and the settlement costs of the transaction. While this may seem like a simple process, conducting a real estate closing is a complicated matter and requires a thorough knowledge of the law, accordingly, sellers and purchasers often turn to lawyers.


Real estate transactions involve multiple phases including: examination of the title, completion and explanation of legal documents, and resolution of any possible title difficulties. Real estate attorneys conduct each of these steps. They start by examining the title records for prior conveyances, unpaid mortgages, liens, judgments, easements, and other encumbrances and other items impacting the title. In short, they confirm that the seller has the authority to convey a good title to the property and that no errors exist in the deeds in the chain of title. Additionally, they negotiate with the title insurance company for insurance coverage to insure titles against any adverse claims of ownership, liens, and easements.


Real estate attorneys next combine all relevant information into a single set of closing documents. At the closing, they provide detailed explanations of the documents to insure that the parties understand all issues involved in the transaction. Attorney Alice M Breding, Esq. subscribes to the notion that meticulous document review and preparation will prevent most problems before they start.


The real estate attorney's role can be summed up as follows:


For buyers, attorneys:


  • Review and negotiate the specific terms of contracts;

  • Help assess financing options and explain the terms of loans;

  • Secure a title commitment from a reputable title company;

  • Evaluate all legal documents, such as the deed, title policy, mortgage, survey, closing statement, and seller disclosure statement;

  • Scrutinize charges to make sure that they are consistent with estimates; and

  • Provide updates of any facts that affect the property interest and provide counsel if difficulties arise.


For sellers, attorneys:


  • Review and negotiate the specific terms of contracts;

  • Request title searches, surveys, mortgage payoff letters, condominium documents and all other items necessary for closing and work to clear up any title issues,

  • Prepare the deed, all other closing documents, and closing figures;

  • Review charges for consistency with estimates; and

  • Provide updates of any facts that affect the property interest and provide counsel if difficulties arise.


For either purchasers or sellers:


  • Negotiate and organize business purchase and sale agreements

  • Arrange residential purchases, sales, and leases

  • Draft purchase offers and land sale contracts when real estate agents are not involved

  • Organize property transfers and options

  • Monitoring of contingency and other contract dates

  • Reviewing inspection and title reports

  • Work closely and effectively with clients, other counsel, real estate agents, the lender, mortgage broker, and loan processor throughout the transaction in order to facilitate an efficient closing process

  • Comply with land use and zoning requirements, such as obtaining easements from planning commissions

  • Possibly draft all closing documents

  • Arrange for the closing at a convenient time;

  • Conducting and attending the closing with clients and ensure that clear title is conveyed


Real estate transactions can be extremely complex. All parties involved must take care to avoid the kinds of errors that can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to millions in lost revenue. Only a skilled and detail-oriented real estate lawyer can make certain that the documents prepared for your signature have no hidden surprises.

Do I really need a real estate attorney?


Although good agents know a lot about the negotiating and contracting part of the process, they can't make judgments on legal questions. For example, what if your prospective new home has an illegal in-law unit with an existing tenant whom you want to evict in order to rent the place to a friend? Only a lawyer can tell you with any certainty whether your plans are feasible. Or, if you're drafting any unusual language for the purchase contract, or are concerned about some language in your mortgage, you may want to have an attorney look the documents over.




Are you an out of town buyer?

Are you buying a property that is a short sale or bank owned?

Are you buying a property that is part of an estate sale?

Are you buying a commercial property?

Are you buying a property that could potentially have some structural issues?

Are you buying a property in a problematic area such as a flood zone or areas with adverse conditions (tornado prone, radon, toxicity levels, etc.)?




Are you selling a property that is in some state of distress?

Are you the heir or executor of a property whose owner is now deceased?

Are you selling a house with a non-cooperative partner?

Do you have that gut feeling that something could possibly go wrong based on knowledge you have about the property?

Do you have judgments or liens in your background?

Are you uneducated in the detailed history of the title to the property over the past 40 years?


If you answered yes to any of the above questions then hiring an attorney to guide you through the process would definitely be beneficial to you. Hiring a real estate attorney (an attorney experienced in real estate transactions) is a smart choice. You do not want to take chances with someone unfamiliar with real estate transactions. A real estate attorney will review the contract, negotiate repairs based on the home inspection report, and collaborate with the title company. A real estate attorney will also be with you at settlement along with your realtor and possibly your lending agent. All of these people are working for you to make sure you are protected.

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