Purchasing a house is one of the most expensive purchases an individual will ever make in life. It’s not just a piece of property, but a home where you plan to raise your family, a safe haven from the rest of the world, and your humble abode is probably a reflection of your lifestyle – whether a condo, townhouse, or singly family dwelling. The stakes are high and any mistake, no matter how miniscule, when purchasing a house can cause undue stress and frustration. However, the home buying process does not have to be riddled with trepidation and insecurities, when you have a qualified real estate attorney in Dallas, Texas by your side.
In a bustling and rapidly growing city such as Dallas/Fort Worth, it is not only prudent, but should be required to have legal counsel by your side before entering a significant transaction.
Why Should you Hire a Real Estate Lawyer?
Hiring a Dallas real estate attorney before buying a house in the DFW Metroplex is one of the smartest, most pragmatic decisions you could ever make. An experienced attorney will save you time, money, and effort parsing through hundreds of pages of legalese. Let your Dallas area real estate lawyer take the guesswork out of the home-buying process. Below are a few reasons why a real estate attorney is integral in your journey to homeownership:
Every state has different property laws, but no state’s laws are quite as unique as Texas. Of course, why would that not be the case? When have Texans followed the pack. We pride ourselves on being trailblazers and as Governor Greg Abbott says, “We don’t quiver in our boots.” Our state laws are more complex, and homebuyers can easily avoid the intricacies of our legal system by working with a qualified Dallas real estate attorney. An experienced real estate lawyer will assist you in preparing purchase documents that conform to legal requirements and apprise you of your rights as a homebuyer. Your attorney is your advocate and will work only in your best interest in a real estate transaction. For example, if your Dallas real estate lawyer discovers that the seller has violated any terms of the sales agreement, he/she can seek legal recourse in the courts immediately.
Another benefit of hiring a real estate attorney before buying a house is that they can help you discover concealed issues related to the property. An experienced Dallas real estate lawyer will probe into complex issues such as whether the seller is the true owner, or a relative of the homeowner. Legal obstacles can arise if the seller is merely a half owner of the house and attempts to sells without getting prior approval from the other owner. Additionally, they can trace the property’s history and chain of ownership to check for encumbrances, easements, restrictive covenants, liens, etc.
Your real estate attorney will further provide expert legal guidance to avoid potential disputes over property lines, tax issues, oil rights, encroachments, adverse possession suits, and more. The sage advice of a real estate lawyer in Dallas will prove invaluable in avoiding property related challenges and lawsuits in the future.
An experienced real estate lawyer in Dallas can also perform the role of an intermediary in a real estate transaction. An attorney can skillfully negotiate with the seller on your behalf, while maintaining confidentiality and professionalism throughout the process. Furthermore, an attorney has a fiduciary responsibility to their clients and not a vested monetary interest, like a real estate agent. An attorney can only draft the legal documents including the purchase contract, financing documents, and addendums, but can also act as an escrow agent by holding the earnest money in a separate account until closing.
Real estate attorneys specialize in legal matters relating to property laws. They ensure that their client’s best interests are at the forefront of every real estate transaction. One of the important responsibilities of a real estate lawyer in Dallas relates to the fiduciary duty of confidentiality. This fiduciary duty is based on Model Rule 1.6 of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, with broad applications.
According to the ABA model, a real estate attorney will not disclose any information that relates to the client’s representation. The responsibility continues even after the client’s representation has ended. The duty of confidentiality not just prevents a real estate lawyer from revealing confidential information; it also prohibits the legal professional from using the personal information to the disadvantage of the client. Unless the information has become ‘publicly known’, the real estate attorney cannot use the information against the client’s interests.
However, keep in mind that a real estate attorney’s duty of confidentiality is exempted in certain cases. If a client gives ‘informed consent’, an attorney can reveal confidential information to a third party. However, the attorney is required to disclose only the information that is required for a specific purpose.
ABA Model Rule 1.6 (b) has specified other cases when a lawyer can disclose client’s confidential information. These include:
To read more about the model rules of professional conduct for lawyers, please visit the following: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/professional_responsibility/publications/model_rules_of_professional_conduct/model_rules_of_professional_conduct_table_of_contents/
In a robust real estate market, like Dallas/Fort Worth, most people instinctively turn to a real estate agent for help in navigating the buying/selling process. We’ve all seen the signs littering front lawns everywhere and magazine spreads in our local publication praising million-dollar producers that have procured an over-asking offer within hours of listing a house on the market. Although your first inclination might be to enlist your favorite local realtor, you may be surprised to learn that retaining an experienced real estate attorney could be your best option.
Allow me to explain the benefits and drawback of both parties:
A realtor’s obligation to clients is slightly limited in nature, and he/she may not necessarily be working in your best interest. For example, a real estate agent can represent both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction, or could even be the buyer, which obviously could leave you in a vulnerable position. Note: Legally, a seller-agent must disclose this fact upfront on the listing.
Real estate attorneys, on the other hand, have an obvious duty to their clients. The lawyer-client relationship provides for a high degree of privacy and confidentiality, which does not exist in a real estate agent-client relationship. A Dallas real estate attorney will be representing you and only you in the buying or selling of a house. In contrast, an attorney is not incentivized by increasing or decreasing the purchase price, thus, affecting the commission. Moreover, a real estate lawyer is in the best position to give you the most impartial representation possible with no metaphorical “skin in the game.”
Realtors are almost exclusively paid on a commission basis, which simply means they only get paid IF and WHEN the transaction closes. As you can imagine by this symbiotic relationship, real estate agents are highly motivated to “seal the deal,” which on the surface may sound like a win-win. However, this financial incentive may subconsciously blur an agent’s vision and cause them to push for a closing that might not be in your best interest.
On the contrary, a real estate attorney in Dallas will be paid directly by you, and his/her fees will be transparent to you from the onset. A real estate attorney’s fees are set from the start and are generally much less than those paid to your agent. The lawyer’s objective in the transaction is to protect their buyer or seller client and shield them from all potential liability that could arise from the contract and related documents. Lawyers have no financial interest in finalizing the sale and are solely working in their client’s best interests.
I’m sure you can infer which party is better equipped to provide you with legal guidance. Real estate agents can fill out the promulgated forms provided by Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC), but they can neither draft personalized forms nor modify existing forms. To learn more about TREC, please visit the following: https://www.trec.texas.gov/
They also cannot provide legal advice regarding those standardized forms. You may hear an agent refer to the TREC contract and related forms as “boiler plate,” essentially alerting you to the fact that they have no standing to make changes or explain the subtle nuances and legal intricacies in the documents. Agents usually encourage clients to sign and initial on the relevant lines without fully understanding what they are committing to. Please Keep in Mind: You have a duty to read. Never sign any legally binding document without first understanding it in its entirety.
In contrast, real estate attorneys can create a personalized contract and associated documents should the need present itself. Moreover, those lawyers will be able to explain the necessity for specific provisions and guide you through the negotiation process before the execution of the contract. Real estate attorneys are also capable of drafting amendments to alleviate ambiguities and reduce misunderstandings between buyers and sellers.
Additionally, real estate lawyers draft contracts and ancillary documents concerning the purchase or sale of a home, as well as promissory notes, deeds of trust and personalized documents for unconventional transactions.
The Kazi Law Firm’s track record of success makes us one of the go-to Dallas, Texas real estate attorneys for business and homeowners in Dallas, Collin, and Denton counties.
We counsel clients in both commercial and residential real estate matters, including but not limited to the following:
Contact the Kazi Law Firm, your preferred real estate attorneys in Dallas, to assist you with your residential and commercial needs. Proudly serving the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex and its surrounding suburbs of Frisco, Plano, McKinney, Prosper, Allen, Celina, and beyond.