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 and created a seller’s market. Inventory in DFW is still low, and often, buyers find themselves in multiple offer situations with bidding wars. Sounds daunting, doesn’t it?
In a robust real estate market, like Dallas/Fort Worth and its surrounding suburbs of Plano, Frisco, Allen, McKinney, etc., most people instinctively turn to a real estate agent to help navigate the buying/selling process. We have all seen the signs littering front lawns everywhere and magazine spreads in the local publications 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 mature. He or she may not necessarily be working exclusively 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. Please keep in mind that legally, a seller-agent must disclose this fact upfront on the listing.
Real estate attorneys, on the other hand, have an explicit duty to their clients. The attorney-client relationship provides 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. A lawyer is not incentivized by increasing or decreasing the purchase price, affecting the monetary commission payout. Moreover, a real estate attorney 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 will be paid directly by you, and his or 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. Typically, in Texas, an agent’s commission on buying or selling a property is 3% of the purchase price. In contrast, 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 interest.
I’m sure can you infer which party Is better equipped to provide you with legal guidance. A real estate agent can fill out the promulgated forms provided by the Texas Real Estate Commission (https://www.trec.texas.gov/) (TREC). Still, 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 “boilerplate,” 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 the relevant lines without fully understanding what they are committing to. Please keep in mind that you have a “duty to read in Texas.” 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 explain the necessity for specific provisions and guide you through the negotiation process before executing the contract. Real estate attorneys can also draft amendments to alleviate ambiguities and reduce misunderstandings between buyers and sellers.
Additionally, lawyers draft contracts and ancillary documents concerning the purchase or sale of a home and promissory notes, deeds of trust, and personalized documents for unconventional transactions.
In many instances, having both a licensed real estate agent and a licensed 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 an attorney prepare and review the purchase contract and associated documents put their mind at ease, allowing for a less stressful buying or selling experience.
What is a real estate attorney?
Whether you are investing out of state or simply renting out the property next door, finding a qualified and experienced real estate attorney in Plano can help protect you and your business through all aspects of a real estate transaction. At the Kazi Law Firm, our expert real estate attorneys are skilled in Texas’s laws and regulations. They are available to oversee the legal details of your real estate transactions. No matter what side of a transaction you are on, whether it be buyer or seller, a competent real estate attorney in Plano can be an invaluable ally.
Your Plano, real estate attorney can assist you in various legal matters, including but not limited to zoning challenges, encroachment issues, fence and property boundaries, ordinances, environmental issues, etc. At the Kazi Law Firm, we can also help with contracts, lease agreements, security deposit disputes, early termination agreements, and loan documents to ensure you understand each of your responsibilities as a property owner. Additionally, your experienced real estate lawyers in Plano, TX, can help you establish the appropriate business structure for your investment property portfolio.
At the Kazi Law Firm, homeowners and real estate investors rely on us for a plethora of reasons. Homeowners typically lean on our real estate attorneys during the home buying or selling process. Similarly, real estate investors employ our expertise quite frequently. Those individuals working with investment properties or in the property management arena find a real estate attorney in Plano, TX, particularly useful in various complex situations throughout their careers.
Do sellers need a real estate attorney?
No, sellers are not required by Texas law to retain legal counsel when selling their home. However, it is highly recommended that a qualified Plano real estate attorney be involved in the transaction to review all contracts, addendums, and amendments. Having a lawyer in your corner from the start is not only smart but cost-effective. Should any conflicts or legal questions arise during the transaction, having an attorney at the onset will save you a lot of time, heartache, and often, save the deal from going awry. We recommend clients not rely on their realtors’ goodwill and experience when transacting in land, commercial, or residential real estate deals. Albeit they mean well, your real estate agent is simply not equipped with the legal know-how and authorization under Texas law to facilitate requisite changes to the contract and ancillary documents.
Why would I need a real estate attorney?
Individuals may hire an experienced Plano real estate attorney if they are an out-of-town buyer. A transaction involving a short-sale or bank-owned property should always include an attorney. Buying commercial properties, those with structural issues, and buildings located in hazardous areas warrant the services of a real estate attorney as well.
Additionally, sellers may hire an attorney if the property they are buying or selling is in a distressed state. Yet, another reason to involve a competent real estate attorney in Plano is when an individual is trying to sell a property with an uncooperative party. There may also be instances where the sellers have judgments or liens on the property, necessitating legal support.
Furthermore, hiring a Plano, TX real estate attorney for a business deal offers an added level of protection for both buyers and sellers. Do you want to risk the deal of this magnitude collapsing due to lack of legal representation?
What questions should you ask a real estate attorney?
It’s imperative to ask your prospective real estate lawyer the following questions:
When a real estate transaction is expected to be complicated, buyers and sellers should seek an experienced real estate attorney. Legal fees will be higher for a professional with 10 to 20 years in the field compared to someone fresh out of law school. A great general practitioner that doesn’t focus on real estate may not have the time or passion for helping when you need it. By having a dedicated real estate friendly attorney, they will be able to help with issues on your contract, title, and even loan underwriting.
Don’t be afraid to ask how many years of relevant real estate experience they have and how much of their business is dedicated to real estate. Qualified real estate attorneys in Plano, TX, know how to answer this and will make you feel comfortable from the beginning.
It’s imperative to find an attorney who is licensed and in good standing with the state bar of Texas (https://www.texasbar.com/ ). Since real estate laws differ among states, ask how long the attorney has been practicing in Texas, specifically. Real estate law is a niche specialization. Not all attorneys have the requisite experience to handle complex or uncommon real estate disputes.
A real estate lawyer who has had experience handling cases similar to yours will be a valuable asset. Every real estate deal varies, so find a professional who can expect potential hurdles. Although the lawyer will not reveal specific details about past cases, ask about practical strategies for your circumstance. Additionally, asking about the tactics a lawyer might use to handle your situation offers a great deal of insight into how knowledgeable the professional is about real estate law. It is important to come away with a detailed plan of action rather than a vague guarantee of success. Your real estate attorneys at the Kazi Law Firm believe in complete transparency. They are happy to share their strategy and game plan to achieve a successful outcome in your specific case.
At the Kazi Law Firm, we like to be forthright regarding legal fees and often work on a “phased” approach with fixed, flat fees. Our experienced attorneys lay out the different phases of our legal strategy with each phase’s fixed fees. We don’t believe in hidden fees. At the Kazi Law Firm, we give our clients all the information they need when deciding to retain our legal services.
Real estate investment deals are quite different than conventional purchases. Between short sales and foreclosures, many investment deals can be time-consuming and challenging to deal with. You need an experienced Plano real estate attorney that understands how to work with investors. Not all attorneys comprehend the subtle nuances of an investment purchase – commercial or residential. This could be changing the contract to offer protection or working with lenders to push the deal forward. At the Kazi Law Firm, our managing partner and founder is not only an experienced real estate lawyer but is also a Texas licensed realtor and investor herself. Thus, with her years of experience and connections within the state, we can put you in contact with fellow investors and lenders in your area.
Some firms may hand over partial work to paralegals or junior attorneys. Learn who, besides the lead attorney, will be involved in working on your case. It is imperative to feel comfortable with your legal team when embarking on your real estate journey.
While initially meeting with a potential real estate lawyer can reveal a great deal about compatibility, the extent of legal knowledge and professionalism, reviews from past clients can be quite telling. Be sure to read your attorney’s reviews online and see what the common theme is. What is the attorney’s greatest strength or character attribute that past clients are mentioning in their reviews? In today’s digital world, you can learn a great deal about a firm by what colleagues, real estate professionals, and past clients are saying by merely spending a few minutes online.
At the Kazi Law Firm, we are proud to be a 5-star Google review firm. We have countless positive testimonials and glowing reviews on various websites. When choosing a Plano, TX real estate attorney, be sure to do your homework and carefully research your legal options.
How do I choose a real estate attorney?
The importance of a skilled Plano, TX real estate attorney cannot be understated, no matter if you are a full-time real estate investor or first-time homebuyer. An attorney can offer you legal protections, walk you through crucial documents, and ensure a smooth transaction anytime you buy, rent, or sell a property, commercial, or residential. Remember to ask the appropriate questions and keep searching until you find a qualified Plano real estate attorney that you trust. At the Kazi Law Firm, we have extensive experience in real estate law matters. We are equipped with the knowledge, expertise, and skills to guide you through various property transactions successfully.