Why use an Attorney?
You don’t buy a house every day. So when you finally decide on that terrific new home, get off to a good start: Start with an attorney. How does using an attorney benefit you? Hundreds of ways. But here are five of the most important:
1. Get the Property You Pay For
Accurate land records are critical to sound real estate transactions. Yet, in Vermont, tracing the ownership and description of each piece of property is enormously complicated. Why? Because Vermont has always kept land records based on the old English system, rather than the simpler “tract” system used by many other states. This means that each property must be searched by tracing the names of past owners and comparing the legal descriptions of the property. Verifying these land records is challenging and exacting. Licensed attorneys, with their specialized knowledge and experience, are best equipped to verify key facts, property information necessary to obtain title insurance, and advise you of any circumstances that might affect your purchase.
2. Make Your Best Deal
Unexpected issues often arise at the time of closing, and they must be resolved through negotiation. In Vermont, the seller in a real estate transaction typically is represented by an attorney at closing. You – the buyer – are on equal footing during these negotiations only if you have your own attorney on hand to provide advice and counsel. And, because attorneys typically take advantage of new technologies to streamline the closing process, your attorney-assisted closing probably won’t cost any more than a non-attorney closing in other regions of the country.
3. Avoid Legal Pitfalls
Property law has never been simple. But with new municipal, state and federal laws being enacted all the time, real estate transactions are more complex than ever. Lead paint, environmental pollution, buried oil tanks, encroachments, land use restrictions and zoning issues are just a few of the potential pitfalls in any closing. Buyers and sellers alike need competent, independent legal counsel to overcome them successfully.
4. Take Advantage of Proven Expertise
A custom becomes a tradition when it is widely recognized as the most effective way to get something done. That’s how attorneys came to be the principal providers of closing services in the first place, and why smart buyers, sellers and lenders continue to engage them. The fact is that verifying title, preparing and explaining deeds, and executing sound real estate transactions are inseparable from the practice of law. Only a licensed attorney has the education, the resources and – in some states – the statutory authority to handle those responsibilities on your behalf.
5. Spend Money Wisely
Perhaps you purchased a home some time in the past without the services of an attorney. If you look at your closing costs for that purchase, adjust for inflation, and compare the figures to what an attorney-assisted closing would cost today, you may be pleasantly surprised. It hardly costs more to use an attorney. And when you consider the value of having your own legal expert by your side as you make this major purchase, the question isn’t whether you can afford to engage an attorney, it’s whether you can afford not to.