Kenneth R. Sechler, Attorney at Law - Lawyer, Dublin, Ohio
 
 

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Residential Real Estate
 

Attorney at Law - Lawyer

Dublin, Ohio

 
FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions - Pre-Contract Through Closings
 
Do I need a lawyer for my house closing?
  Yes. The purchase or sale of your home is a major financial transaction involving a variety of legal issues that an experienced real estate lawyer can identify and properly address. A non-lawyer is not trained, licensed, or qualified to identify the legal issues and to protect the legal interests of buyers or sellers at closings.
   
  The Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing states in its Home Buyer's Guide (1/23/2007):
   
    Most real estate agents use standard forms for offers, on which they fill in the exact terms. You should be very careful about what is written. The terms of the offer will become the terms of the sale if it is accepted. For this reason, it is advisable to have a real estate attorney prepare or review your offer for you. While this is an additional expense, the cost of attorney fees if legal action results will be much higher. (emphasis added)  
   
  Some people recommend against using a lawyer because they equate identifying problems with "creating problems," or they would prefer that problems be glossed over or ignored in order to have an easier closing. A buyer, generally with the most at risk, should prefer to have problems identified and evaluated.
 

 
What can a lawyer do for a home buyer?
 

 

Real Estate Purchase Contract. A lawyer can give advice about what terms should be in the Real Estate Purchase Contract. A lawyer can draft the contract or review a form contract that has been prepared by a non-lawyer. While a non-lawyer is permitted to fill in the blanks on a standard form, a non-lawyer is not qualified, and is not legally permitted, to draft contract provisions and to determine what provisions should be added to the form to provide the protection your situation requires.
 
Advice on How to Take Title. A lawyer can give advice on which way of taking title works best for your circumstances.
 
Survey Advice. A lawyer can give advice on whether you should upgrade from the lender required mortgage location survey to a better survey that you can rely upon to identify the property boundary lines, the location of improvements, and other matters that only an accurate survey can disclose. Title insurance policies contain a general exception from coverage for matters that could be disclosed by an accurate survey.
 
Review the Title Evidence. Before the closing, a lawyer should review the title evidence to identify any title problems that need to be addressed and resolved. Title insurance does not insure good and marketable title; instead title insurance generally is subject to a list of exceptions to title that have been discovered by the title search.
According to a 2005 survey by the American Land Title Association, title problems were found in 36% of all residential transactions, up from 25% in 2000.
Some exceptions to title can be negotiated away. Other exceptions need to be eliminated or minimized, perhaps by the seller at the sellerís expense. Some exceptions will not be removed, but should be explained to you by your lawyer. Also, there are certain matters of additional title insurance coverage that can be obtained, if you know to ask.
 
Review Closing Documents. Before the closing, a lawyer can review a number of the closing documents and identify and resolve problems.
 
Before the Closing.  Before the closing, is emphasized because a common misconception is that all a lawyer needs to do is to attend the closing. However, a 30 to 45 minute closing is not a very good time and place to identify and resolve problems. Instead, it is better to identify and resolve problems in the weeks preceding the closing so there is time to obtain a better result and so the closing may be a more efficient and pleasant occasion.
 
These are just some of the matters a lawyer can address for home buyers from pre-contract through closings.

 
What can a lawyer do for a home seller?
 

 
Pre-Contract Discussions.
A lawyer can discuss and give advice regarding the terms of a real estate listing agreement with the broker and Realtor, including the financial terms. A lawyer also can discuss and give advice on what generally is involved in the sale of a house so the seller is better prepared to deal with issues as they may arise.

For Sale By Owner. While Realtors can provide valuable services, some sellers prefer to sell their homes without using a listing Realtor. A lawyer can give advice and provide documents that will assist the seller in understanding the process of selling a home and in being better prepared to deal with issues as they may arise. When a buyer is found, a lawyer can assist by preparing the contract and by arranging for the closing.

Title and Property Disclosures. A lawyer can discuss and give advice concerning any conditions of title that should be disclosed to a buyer and that should be specifically referenced in the contract as exceptions to the sellerís obligations. This may avoid expensive problems. Similarly, a lawyer can discuss and give advice concerning any conditions of the improvements on the property that should be disclosed.

Real Estate Purchase Contract. A lawyer can give advice about what terms should be in the Real Estate Purchase Contract. A lawyer can draft the contract or review a form contract that has been prepared by a non-lawyer. While a non-lawyer is permitted to fill in the blanks on a standard form, a non-lawyer is not qualified, and is not legally permitted, to draft contract provisions and to determine what provisions should be added to the form to provide the protection your situation requires.

Recommendation of Title Insurance Agency. Generally, the seller has the right to choose which title agency will provide the title insurance to the buyer. A lawyer who has experience with a number of title agencies is in a good position to give advice on which title agencies have the best reputations for quality, professionalism, service, and reasonable costs.

Review Closing Documents. Before the closing, a lawyer can review a number of the closing documents. It is better to identify and resolve problems prior to the closing so there is time to obtain a better result and so the closing may be a more efficient and pleasant occasion.

Availability For Closings. My general practice in representing a seller is to review and prepare documents before the closing, but not to attend the closing unless the seller so requests. I schedule the closing time and am in my office at that time so I am available by telephone, fax, and e-mail to respond to any questions or problems that may arise at the closing. If needed, I am available to go to the closing. However, if I am not needed during the closing, I do not charge for the time that I am in my office working on other matters.

These are just some of the matters a lawyer can address for home sellers from pre-contract through closings.

 

 

 

graphic-residential real estate

 

CBR-CBA Form Real Estate Purchase Contract:

The current version of the Columbus Board of Realtors-Columbus Bar Association form contract is dated
May 2017.

 
see the Real Estate page:

New Community Authorities and Assessments

 
 
 

 

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