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Should I get a lawyer for my real estate transaction?

This is the age-old question that the wisest home-buyers always consider before purchasing a home: Should I let my real estate agent handle the home-buying process, or should I retain a lawyer to represent me? Often times the process of answering this question boils down to perceptions relating to the cost of each professional's services.

Many homebuyers see the hiring of a lawyer as an extra expense, a luxury they cannot afford, but is it really? Let's take a look at the difference between what a real estate agent and a lawyer can do for you.

It's definitely true that a real estate agent can represent you in the purchase of a home without the help of an attorney. The process of going through the motions of a real estate transaction is so cut-and-dry that it can be done with a cut-and-paste contract that only requires the agent to fill in the blanks. However, if something legal comes up, you will definitely want a lawyer's help.

Let's take the example of an unlawful mother-in-law suite attached to a home, which currently has a tenant living inside it. You plan to evict that tenant once you purchase the home, but surprise, in order to know if that's possible, you need to evaluate the leasing contract with the existing tenant and the legality of whether the unit can even be legally rented in its current condition in the first place. A real estate agent might overlook this in order to quickly get the sales transaction over and receive his or her commission as quickly as possible.

A real estate agent will receive approximately a 5 percent commission on your residential real estate transaction. Can you believe that equates to an instant payment of about $50,000 on a $300,000 home, all for following a cookie-cutter, boilerplate process that anyone can get trained on in a matter of months?

Real estate agents fees are often built into the cost of the home, but that doesn't mean you're not footing the bill. Completing a residential real estate transaction without an agent, and with a real estate law firm like the law office of Mathew J. Obermeier on your side instead, could save you a lot of money, and a lot of legal headaches in the long run.

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