Each state has their requirements as to whether an attorney is necessary at a real estate closing. Arizona law generally doesn’t require prospective homeowners to have an attorney.
Just because the state doesn’t require people to have an attorney for a real estate closing, that doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea to help protect your interests.
How can your attorney protect your interests?
Several matters can go sideways leading up to the closing process. Zoning, inspection, appraisal, titling and financing issues may arise. All of these may warrant renegotiating or terminating a contract.
Significant funds exchange hands at closings. Attorneys have fiduciary duties to their clients to protect their financial interests. Many real estate transactions involve the preparation of a closing statement. An attorney provides value by helping ensure that you understand what you’re paying for and that you don’t pay more than you owe.
What attributes should you look for in a real estate attorney?
Any attorney will know the law, but not everyone will understand the ins and outs of reviewing real estate contracts, tackling disputes that arise or making sense of closing statements. That’s why you’ll want to ask questions like these before committing to working with a real estate attorney:
- How long have they practiced real estate law?
- What value might they add to the closing process?
- How will they assess fees – hourly or flat fee?
- Will they have a paralegal attend the closing or do so themselves?
You’ll want to ensure that your attorneys’ responses align with your expectations before having them represent you. The better you understand the closing process, the better equipped you’ll be to decide whether to get legal representation.