For many people, buying or selling a house is one of the most significant transactions of their life, and it stands to reason that you’d want to turn to a professional rather than navigating the process on your own. If you’re purchasing a new home or considering selling your house, your first inclination might be to enlist the help of a realtor. But while buying and selling agents can be a good option, you may be surprised to learn that a real estate attorney might actually be the best option.
Realtor vs. Real Estate Attorney:
Obligations to the client
A real estate agent’s obligations to his or her client are somewhat limited, and he or she may not necessarily be working in your best interest. For example, a real estate agent can represent both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction, or could even be the buyer, which obviously could leave you in a very vulnerable position.
Attorneys, on the other hand, have a very clear duty to their clients. The real estate lawyer-client relationship provides for a high degree of privacy and confidentiality, which does not exist in a real estate agent-client relationship. A real estate attorney will be representing you and only you in the buying or selling of a house, and an attorney is not incentivized by increasing or decreasing the purchase price.
Furthermore, while it is typically advisable to hire an agent for the marketing and advertising portion of the sale of your property, it is the real estate lawyers who will typically get involved during the transactional phase.
Compared to an agent, a real estate attorney will give you the best and most unbiased representation possible.
Real estate agents are usually paid by commission, which they will only receive if the transaction closes. If the transaction doesn’t close, they aren’t paid. This means agents are motivated to “seal the deal,” which on the surface may sound like a good thing. But that motivation may cause an agent to push for a closing that might not be in your best interest.
An attorney (specifically a real estate attorney), on the other hand, will be paid directly by you, and his or her fees will be made clear to you from the start. An attorney will be motivated by the fact that he or she is your representative, not because of commission. If a closing falls through or you decide you don’t want to go through with a deal, it won’t affect your representation by an attorney.
Oftentimes, the real estate attorneys at The Farah Law Firm work with agents hand-in-hand to transact a client’s purchase or sale. It is not necessarily a mutually exclusive relationship, and we happily work with some of the largest real estate brokerages in Texas.
Lastly, many transactions may not require a realtor or real estate agent to sell or help buy a home. This especially applies to “For Sale By Owner” arrangements, owner finance arrangements, and other direct buyer-to-seller or seller-to-buyer transactions.
You can probably infer that a real estate attorney is better equipped to provide you with legal guidance than a real estate agent is. Agents can fill out forms, but they can neither draft forms nor modify existing forms. They also cannot provide legal advice regarding those “standardized forms”—only an attorney can do that.
Interestingly, the State of Texas Real Estate Commission obliges licensed real estate agents to use the forms and no other without the advice and representation of an attorney.
Attorneys, on the other hand, can draw up a contract, explain its terms to you in detail, and give you all the legal counsel you might—and will—need as you go through the process of selling your home.
Turn to The Farah Law Firm
If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, turn to the real estate attorneys and real estate investment attorneys at The Farah Law Firm. In addition to practicing law, attorney Michael Farah is also a licensed Realtor® and an avid real estate investor, which gives him the knowledge and experience to help you sell your house at the best possible price and terms that you can hope for. Contact our office today to discuss your real estate needs and our services.