3 Situations When You Should Hire a Real Estate Attorney 


Some states require that an attorney handle real estate transactions, but California is not one of them. However, just because the law doesn't necessitate an attorney, you may want to protect yourself and use their services anyway. Here are three situations when you should consider hiring an experienced real estate attorney.

1. You Are Renting Out Your Property

California landlord-tenant laws can be confusing. The law also frequently changes. For example, as of January 1, 2020, California now has a strict, statewide rent control law (AB 1482 California Tenant Protection Act) on qualifying units. Local rent control ordinances may also apply.

California laws dictate everything, including how much you can charge in late fees or if the tenant's check bounces, how much you can require for a security deposit, when and how you can terminate tenancy, and how you must dispose of any belongings a tenant leaves behind.

Tenants in California may also legally withhold rent under certain circumstances, move without notice, or sue their landlord. If the laws that govern being a landlord in California sound confusing, that's because they are.

Additionally, federal fair housing laws prohibit discrimination because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. There are several other federal civil rights statutes that prohibit discrimination.

To ensure you thoroughly understand local, state, and federal law and to ensure the terms of your rental agreement or lease are legal, hire a real estate attorney. This will offer you the best protection against incrimination or landlord-tenant problems in the future.

2. You're a First-Time Home Buyer

Buying a home is typically the most expensive purchase you will make in your lifetime. It can also be one of the most stressful events. Home buyers aren't required to have an attorney to purchase a home, but it is in your best interest to have one. 

Purchasing a home is no easy transaction. There are many steps in the course of transferring the title and completing the purchase. This can be a daunting task, especially if you have never gone through the process before.

The seller's real estate agent is usually the seller's personal representative and works to get the best deal for them. However, California is a state that allows dual agency. This means the same real estate agent or agency can represent both the seller and the buyer as long as each party agrees to it. 

While this may sound convenient, it sets the stage for a potential conflict of interest and will not likely benefit you as a buyer. It may even work to your disadvantage. For example, how can one agent fairly negotiate bids between buyer and seller when they represent both? Because of the potential for trouble, at least eight states have deemed the practice of dual agency illegal.  

When you hire a real estate attorney, you can be assured you have someone in your corner, looking out for your best interest, walking you through the home buying process, and most importantly, making sure the i's get dotted and the t's get crossed when you finally close the deal.

3. You're Buying or Selling Commercial Property

Commercial property transactions often involve millions of dollars. This translates into a lucrative commission for the agent that handles the transaction. While many real estate agents are reputable, some may not be so diligent and are more interested in quickly making the sale and collecting their commission. You can best legally protect yourself by hiring a real estate attorney when buying or selling commercial property.

No matter what kind of real estate transaction you are involved in, you can potentially save time and money and legally protect yourself by having an experienced real estate legal professional on your side. Contact us at the Law Offices of Blomberg, Benson & Garrett, Inc., today to schedule an appointment.