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Why Do I Need An Attorney?

This is a question that comes up every now and then. I’ve seen it more frequently from out-of-town buyers. In many states outside of New York, it’s customary to not use an attorney when purchasing real estate. Instead, an escrow company will handle the transfer of title and coordinate with the parties. This question came up again recently, and here is how I responded to my client (who happened to be an attorney but did not practice real estate law).  The same would go if you were selling your home.

I’m an attorney, and I have been involved in hundreds of real estate transactions. When my wife and I bought our house last year we hired an attorney. The attorney will review the title, address any legal issues, negotiate inspection issues or mortgage contingency issues, provide an extra set of eyes on the contract and transaction. I look at the the attorney as a $600 insurance policy on one of the biggest investments of your life. I’ve never had a client purchase a home without an attorney, and I would never recommend buying property in NY without an attorney. I can NOT act as your attorney or provide legal advice. The seller will have an attorney, and should you forgo an attorney you’ll be at a disadvantage.

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