Real estate law governs the use and ownership of land and the buildings on it. Although attorney involvement isn’t required to buy or sell property, both residential and commercial transactions can present complex legal issues that are best resolved with professional assistance. Layton & Southard works closely with clients to secure their investments and reduce the potential risk associated with each transaction.
Real Estate Agents Are Not Lawyers
Are you wondering why you might need a real estate lawyer if you’re already working with a real estate agent? The answer is that these individuals have very different areas of expertise.
Real estate agents are familiar with the value of a property, what comparable properties are selling for, and the characteristics of the neighborhood. They can be tremendously helpful when it comes to helping you list a property for sale or finding a property that fits your needs, but they’re simply not qualified to give legal advice. In fact, even if a real estate agent knows the answer to your question about zoning, survey, easement, or escrow issues, they can’t answer because they risk losing their license for stepping outside the boundaries of their profession.
Real estate agents are also not equipped to handle challenging transactions involving issues outside what affects the typical buyer or seller. For example, purchasing a property in a flood zone or a building that comes with known structural issues presents an unusual amount of risk that you’ll need to manage very carefully.
How a Real Estate Lawyer Can Help
Our services are personalized to fit individual needs, but we can help with a wide range of issues related to both residential and commercial transactions—including contract preparation, contract disputes, title dispute resolution, purchase and sale agreements, title insurance claims, homeowner’s association issues, zoning laws, landlord-tenant issues, and much more. We can also:
- Prepare and review documents. Mortgage documents, title documents, purchase agreements, and other documents related to your transaction need to be meticulously prepared to ensure they protect your interests, reduce your risk, and avoid subjecting you to legal liability.
- Assist with obtaining financing. If needed, we can help with the documentation needed to secure certain types of financing for your purchase.
- Help with zoning issues. Zoning laws significantly affect the value of a real estate investment, so we’ll make sure you can legally use the property in the way you intend.
- Look for hidden defects. A property that looks fine at first glance could have serious structural issues, but we’ll conduct the research necessary to determine if it’s suitable for your needs and put a property inspection clause on the buyer’s documents.
- Keep you updated as the transaction progresses. We’ll make sure all paperwork is completed by the appropriate deadlines and keep you updated so you know what to expect.
- Negotiate the terms of the deal. We can work with other attorneys, developers, brokers, and investors involved in the transaction to negotiate the most favorable terms.
- Attend the closing. Having representation at the closing helps ensure it’s legal, binding, and in your best interests.
- Represent you in a dispute. We can represent your interests if there is a dispute regarding the chain of title, a lot line problem, or another issue with the potential to derail the transaction.
Whether you’re purchasing your first home, selling your starter home to buy a new property that will accommodate your growing family, or planning to invest in commercial property, our goal is to:
- Save you money. Every word of a real estate contract is up for negotiation, and a skilled attorney can often save you a substantial sum—especially if you’re investing in commercial real estate.
- Save you time. When your schedule is already jam-packed, you don’t need more things to add to your plate. We’ll handle the legal aspects of the transaction so you can focus on doing what you do best.
- Give you peace of mind. Real estate represents a substantial financial investment, but knowing your legal bases are covered can help you complete the transaction with confidence.
Contact Our Real Estate Attorneys Today
From our Cape Girardeau and Perryville offices, the team at Layton & Southard serves clients with residential and commercial real estate needs throughout Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois. Contact us today to discuss how we can best be of assistance.