Congratulations! You’re about to purchase your first home in the Lone Star State. Needless to say, buying or selling a home is one of the most substantial and critical transactions in your life. This monumental decision affects your family and your way of life. It allows you to plant roots and join a community in which to raise your children. As you’re probably aware, the significant influx of people moving to Texas has led to a shortage of housing opportunities.
This shortage has contributed to the rapid rise in housing prices in the suburbs of Frisco, Prosper, McKinney, Allen, Plano, Coppell, etc. and has thus, created a seller’s market. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, inventory in DFW is still low, and often, buyers find themselves in multiple offer situations with bidding wars. Sounds daunting? It doesn’t have to be. Contact your friendly, highly specialized Frisco real estate lawyers at the Kazi Law Firm to guide you through the process.
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 drawbacks 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 lawyers, on the other hand, have an obvious duty to their clients. The attorney-client relationship provides for a high degree of privacy and confidentiality, which does not exist in a real estate agent-client relationship. A real estate attorney will be representing you and only you in the buying or selling of a house. Additionally, an attorney is not incentivized by increasing or decreasing the purchase price, thus, affecting the commission. Moreover, your local Frisco 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, the Kazi Law Firm’s Frisco real estate attorneys will be paid directly by you, and their 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. The Kazi Law Firm’s Frisco real estate 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. 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, your specialized Frisco 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. The Kazi Law Firm’s real estate attorneys are also capable of drafting amendments to alleviate ambiguities and reduce misunderstandings between buyers and sellers.
Additionally, our Frisco 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.
In many instances having both a licensed real estate agent and a licensed real estate attorney on your side is the optimal solution. Many of our clients have told us that having an agent throughout the listing process made marketing their home easier and more effective. Additionally, those same clients have expressed that having one of our specialized Frisco real estate attorneys prepare and review the purchase contract and associated documents put their mind at ease, allowing for a less stressful buying or selling experience.
Now moving away from purchasing your primary residence to creating wealth in the form of investment properties, it is even more critical to hire an experienced real estate lawyer. Therefore, if you’re looking to embark on your real estate investing journey, attempting to purchase a short sale or foreclosure, or are currently experiencing unexpected complications with a simple transaction, it may be time to contact your favorite Frisco real estate law firm. However, it’s critical to remember that not all real estate lawyers are created equal. Before you sign on the dotted line, consider asking these five questions to make sure your prospective attorney has the skills and qualifications that you need.
The Kazi Law firm specializes in real estate law and thus, advises both buyers and sellers to ask the following imperative questions when seeking counsel:
How Long Have You Been Practicing Real Estate Law?
This is a vital question to ask because the more experience an attorney has in this specialty, the better. A more inexperienced real estate lawyer may have the best of intentions, but they have probably not had as much exposure to unique situations. A seasoned real estate attorney has had more time to experience unusual legal situations and may have additional insights that could save you time and aggravation. Just keep in mind that you may end up paying more for the services of an attorney who’s been practicing for 10 or 15 years than you would for one who’s two or three years out of law school.
Have you Handles Cases Similar to Mine?
Every real estate deal is different, and it’s to your advantage to find an attorney who’s experienced in handling situations similar to yours. Choosing an attorney who’s familiar with the type of transaction involved works in your favor, since they already understand the potential problems that can arise and how to avoid them successfully.
What are your Specialties Within Real Estate Law?
Some lawyers focus their practice on certain aspects of real estate law. They may be well-qualified in one area, but not as experienced in another. If you’re planning to get into real estate investment, then you’ll want an attorney who is well versed in this area of real estate law. Your favorite Frisco real estate lawyers at the Kazi Law Firm specialize in both investment properties, commercial and residential, as well as primary residence transactions.
How Long Have You Been Licensed and Practicing in this State?
Real estate laws may vary from one state to another. We, Texans, pride ourselves in all things being “bigger and better in the Lone Star State.” Well, in true Texas fashion, our real estate laws are particular and truly like no other state in the country. Some lawyers may be familiar with the laws in a different state than the one that they’re currently practicing in. While some aspects of real estate law are common across the board, some legal issues are state-specific. Your local Frisco, real estate attorneys, have the experience, knowledge, and licensing to practice throughout this great state, covering a wide array of issues.
Will you Provide a Detailed Action Plan for My Case?
You have the right to know how your attorney plans to handle your case. While you can’t ask for specific details about cases, it’s permissible to ask a real estate attorney what strategy they would use in your situation. Ideally, you want an attorney who can offer you a brief but detailed plan of action, rather than a vague assurance of success.
What are your Fees?
Knowing up front how much an attorney charges for their services can eliminate unnecessary ambiguities later on. Depending on the type of case involved, you may be billed on an hourly basis, or you may be charged a flat fee. If you’re being billed by the hour, expect to pay anywhere from $250 to $650 per hour, depending on the complexity of the case and the lawyer’s years of experience. You may also have to pay a retainer upfront to secure the attorney’s services and time.
Price is an important consideration when it comes to choosing a real estate attorney, but it shouldn’t be the only one. Depending on your situation, it may be worth it to pay a little more to get the outcome you desire. Bargain hunting is not the smartest tactic when hiring an experienced real estate lawyer. Keep in mind that when it comes to specialized legal services (as with most other professional services), you get what you pay for, so you need to be cautious when weighing cost against quality.
As always, your expert Frisco real estate lawyers at the Kazi Law Firm are standing by to assist you with your real estate transaction, whether it be for an investment portfolio or your family abode. Don’t hesitate to contact us today to get started on making your real estate dreams a reality.
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Do I need an attorney when I purchase real estate in Texas?
The offer to purchase is the most important document in the real estate transaction. It sets the tone for everything that occurs once acceptance is made, including, but not limited to, loan processing, terms of your mortgage/financing, inspections, title insurance, how title to real estate is taken, and finally the actual closing itself. Buying or selling your home, is the biggest single investment of your life. An attorney can review or help you prepare a contract to purchase or sell your home that protects you and is fair to all parties involved. The pertinent time to hire an attorney for this type of work is before all parties have signed the contract. The “four corners” of the purchase agreement dictate all matters before and up to the time you sit down at the closing table.
Deeds in Texas
What is a deed? A deed is a written instrument that conveys title to real property. It differs from an earnest money contract, a note, and a deed of trust. While there is no standard form for deeds, deeds in Texas must include the intent to convey the property, the legal description of the property, and a signature and acknowledgment of the grantor to be valid. Deeds do not need to be recorded to be valid.
With that being said, not all deeds are created equal. When a grantor wishes to accomplish specific objectives or limit liability, the type of deed, and the careful wording in the deed by a competent real estate attorney are crucial. The types of deeds most commonly used in Texas are listed below:
The type of deed and the clauses used in a deed can greatly alter the effect of a transfer. It is imperative to consult with an attorney about the meticulous drafting of the deed to achieve the desired results in a real estate transaction.
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