Now that we’ve started to look at homes for you, you need to pick a Real Estate Attorney to represent you in the transaction. While being represented by an attorney isn’t mandatory in MD, our guess is that 99% of all buyers and sellers have an attorney represent them. You don’t want to be the only one without an attorney if the sellers have an attorney. And, while some buyers say they don’t want an attorney to represent them, we strongly recommend it as the best outcome is a smooth sailing transaction with no problems. However, it’s common for there to be at least one hiccup with every deal, some of which can be fairly complicated, which is why it’s important to have a good real estate attorney on your side. It’s basically an insurance policy in case things go wrong. This is also why we recommend hiring a REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY, not Uncle Bob who practices family law. No disrespect to Uncle Bob, but real estate in MD is very specific and it’s best to have someone represent you who knows the law inside and out. Click here to watch a great video from one of my recommended lenders, Amir Syed, on why it’s important to hire a real estate attorney.
So, what does the attorney do? The attorney:
1. Reviews the contract and negotiates any change with the seller’s attorney
2. Assists with the negotiation of any inspection issues
3. Helps you further understand the contract and makes sure your interests are protected
4. Helps you decide how to take title
5. Makes sure the title is clear
6. Files extension requests (inspection, attorney review, mortgage, etc.) as needed
7. Works with your lender to ensure a timely loan commitment
8. Closely reviews the settlement statement (HUD) including any taxes owed, adjustments, closing cost credits, etc. prior to closing
9. Prepares all legal documents
10. Schedules the closing
11. Conducts the closing at a title company and explains all of the documents to you as you sign them
12. Ensures title insurance is in order
The above list is IF everything goes perfectly. If it doesn’t and the contract needs to be canceled, earnest money needs to be refunded, etc. the attorney will handle these items as well. This is why it’s crucial to have a good Real Estate attorney as part of your team.
How much does the attorney cost?
Typically in MD a real estate attorney charges between $600 – $950 depending on the time of the year and how busy they are. You do not pay them upfront. Rather their fee is part of your closing cost and is paid at closing. If a contract is canceled due to an inspection issue, etc. you generally do not have to pay the attorney anything unless the transaction closes.
Picking a Title Company
Here are our favorite Title Companies:
Mid-Atlantic Settlement Services
Touchstone Title LLC
Eagle Title LLC
Our recommendation is to email them to see what their fee currently is, see who responds quickest and which one you like the most. Once you’ve picked a title company, please let us know. This should be done WHILE we are hunting for a property for you. That way you know who your title company is going to be once we are ready to put an offer in on a property as I have to put who your title company is on the contract. It’s all about putting together a great team that consists of your Realtor (Melanie Wood), your mortgage lender, your title officer, and your home inspector.