When Home Sellers Do and Don’t Need a Lawyer

This is the second in an ongoing series of posts on Real Estate business and law.

Please see [link to first post on Home Buyers should consult with an experienced Real Estate lawyer].

Analysis.

Once again this involves analyzing two things: complexity and risk. The more complex a deal is, the more likely it is that an experienced Real Estate lawyer can be an asset in getting the deal done.

If there is the foreseeable risk of an expensive event (such as personal injury) occurring, this also argues for involving a lawyer.

If a Seller reasonably concludes a deal isn’t too complex and presents a low risk of an expensive event, then the Seller won’t need a lawyer. The Seller can always consult with a lawyer if something does happen.

Does the Seller Need a Lawyer? Probably Not.

An example of when the Seller probably doesn’t need a lawyer: (a) Seller has for several years owned a modest single-family home in a suburban neighborhood; (b) Seller is confident there are no serious health or safety hazards on the property; and (c) both parties are guided by competent real estate agents.

Does the Seller Need a Lawyer? Definitely Yes.

A Home Seller DOES Need a Lawyer when the Seller has questions about the law. A real estate agent is not permitted to answer such questions unless s/he is also a lawyer actively licensed to practice law in the applicable state.

Does the Seller Need a Lawyer? Probably Yes.

A Seller will very likely want to consult with a lawyer when:

The Seller knows there are hazardous materials on the property, such as from an auto repair business Seller has operated in the back yard of the home.

  1. The Seller knows there are hazardous materials on the property, such as from an auto repair business Seller has operated in the back yard of the home.
  2. The Seller is leasing a shed in the back yard to the operator of a woodworking business, and the term of the lease extends beyond the expected closing date for the home sale.
  3. The home being sold is in a neighborhood that is in an Urban Renewal district and there is likely to be commercial development nearby within a year after the expected closing date.
  4. The home is in a neighborhood that has a Home Owners Association and there is a history of litigation between neighbors.

Feel free to drop me a line if you have questions.

Michael S. Oswald

Admitted to practice law in CA, CO (inactive), and ID.

michael@msochartered.com

www.msocharted.com

Please note: the above post contains educational information. It is not intended as legal advice. Engage an attorney who is licensed in your state to get advice on dealing with any specific legal issue.

© 2017 Michael S. Oswald

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