Whether a team sport or individual, no one gets to the level of Olympic athlete on their own.
Inspired as I watched the Olympics this August – between the opening and closing ceremonies, so much joy and heartbreak! Watching in awe, I thought about the countless hours of preparation that started years before the athlete ever boarded a plane for Rio. Whether a team sport or individual, no one gets to the level of Olympic athlete on their own. The race for the gold begins in a town far away with the support of an array of people – parents, family, friends, teachers, religious leaders, coaches and teammates.
As a Realtor who strives for the gold medal with every referral and every client, I also appreciate the people who have supported me along my journey and continue to help me provide the concierge service for which I have become known.
The importance of forming a good team cannot be overstated. I have spent years building a roster of awesome professionals. Although every member is important to a successful outcome, I have learned to value the critical relationship that develops between a Realtor and an attorney.
For most people, the purchase or sale of a home is one of their most significant financial events. Real estate transactions are multifaceted matters and the legal consequences from mistakes or omissions during the process can be major. While some believe that hiring a real estate attorney is an unnecessary expense, I understand that this is the last place where my client should look to trim costs. Although I can think of dozens of ways that using an attorney can be beneficial, here are five of the top reasons why I always include attorneys as an important part of my team:
- Not All Title Companies are Created Equal!
Although most real estate transactions in Florida are handled by a title company, the protocol differs from county to county. In Palm Beach County, traditionally the seller chooses the title agent and pays for the owners’ title policy and the doc stamps on the deed. But, in Broward and Miami/Dade counties this falls on the buyer. In either case, if there is a mortgage, the buyer is responsible to pay the lenders’ title policy, doc stamps and intangible tax on the mortgage and note. If the other party is choosing the title company, we cannot assume that they are going to be looking out for our best interest. Without attorney representation, it is like playing baseball and letting the other team’s coach tell them when to bat!
- The Attorney – the Ultimate Umpire!
Although most Realtors utilize the FAR/ BAR AS-IS Contract and associated addendums, which is basically a “fill in the blank” document, there are times when the prepopulated addendums are not adequate. As Realtors, we are not supposed to modify the legal language of the standard contract and we must stop short of offering legal advice. Therefore, even if I believe that I have a good grasp of the legalities of a situation, I am obligated to refer legal questions to the ultimate authority – our attorney.
- Keeping Our Eye on the Prize!
For most contracts, we have an inspection contingency and condominium document review periods during which time buyers have the right to cancel without penalty. This is a critical time to consult with an attorney to ensure due diligence. For sellers, it is important for them to understand their rights if the contract goes south after the contingencies have expired.
- Closing Ceremonies!
Prior to closing, our real estate attorney will review all closing documents with clients, limiting last minute surprises and confusion. For buyers, they will ensure that there are no errors or omissions and that they are conveying good and clear title, limiting exposure to any future risk. For sellers, they will ensure that all funds are received and all liens are paid off.
- Avoid Legal Pitfalls!
Buyers and sellers benefit from legal counsel to overcome potential pitfalls, such as issues that may arise from a purchase that is contingent upon the sale of another property, simultaneous closings, tenancy or eviction issues, wills, trust, estate or probate issues, bankruptcy or foreclosure and IRS issues. These scenarios can incrementally increase the risk of complications. As co-broker of our commercial division, I can attest to the fact that if the transaction involves a commercial property, securing an attorney is even more important.
There is no way of knowing what questions or crises are going to arise during the process. Hiring an attorney is like an insurance policy. If things go wrong, there is someone available who is familiar with the transaction and can help us reach the finish line. I am always there for my clients and as their real estate concierge, I will oft en play many positions. It pays, sometimes literally, to have an extra player – our attorney – on our team! The question isn’t whether a buyer or seller can afford to engage an attorney, it’s whether they can afford not to! Laurie Dubow