There is a lot involved with house buying and selling, and most people who have never bought a home before are not prepared for how complex it all can be. The folk at LA-based real estate company EXIT Real Estate Consultants say that many of their clients underestimate the financial costs associated with buying a home and do not appreciate how much work is involved until they see it firsthand.

Although not required in most states, a real estate attorney is generally recommended for the house-buying process. After all, it is worth spending the money to ensure that everything goes smoothly. So, what do real estate lawyers do?

What Will the Real Estate Attorney Do?

A real estate attorney is a lawyer who specializes in the area of real estate (i.e., the buying and selling of residential and commercial properties). Although you might assume that buying and selling property would be fairly straightforward, there is actually a lot involved.

A real estate lawyer will firstly confirm that the person selling the home has the right to do so. They will check if there are any loans, liens, or claims against the property. The lawyer will also carry out other searches to ensure that there are no zoning restrictions that would affect how the land is used, that there are no issues that might affect the buyer taking possession of the property, and that all the applicable property taxes have been settled by the seller.

In addition to searches, the real estate lawyer will peruse all the contracts to ensure that the legal rights of the buyer or seller are protected (depending, obviously, on who they are working for).

Title insurance is an important part of the buying process because it protects the buyer from any third-party claims on the property that might arise after the transaction has closed. This protects the buyer in the event that such claims are not uncovered during the initial search.

The lawyer is responsible for preparing the closing documents. They will create a settlement statement that will show the buyer’s funds and any charges to be paid. This might include:

  • real estate fees
  • lawyer’s fees
  • taxes
  • loan processing fee
  • underwriting fees
  • title search fees
  • property taxes
  • private mortgage insurance
  • mortgage points.

Why Hire a Real Estate Lawyer?

As mentioned, you are not legally required to hire a real estate attorney, but you can probably see why you should. Many home buyers make the mistake of not hiring a lawyer in an attempt to save money. This can often backfire though, particularly if there are any issues uncovered that could delay the process.

Those who do hand the reins over to an experienced lawyer will have peace of mind that things will go as smoothly as possible. The lawyer will take on the job of reading all the complicated paperwork; what’s more, they will understand what they are reading. They will be able to spot any problem areas in a contract and can highlight them to ensure your best interests are being served.

It is worth noting that in some states you will need a lawyer to take on the role of closing. If this is the case, it would be worth hiring the lawyer from the outset to ensure that you get to closing without any major hiccups.


You do not always need to hire a real estate attorney to help you through the process of buying a home, but it is recommended. Legal support can be greatly beneficial during the complicated process of house buying and is well worth the money.