Do I Need a Real Estate Agent, a Lawyer, or Both?

When hiring someone to do a job, it’s always essential to ensure you are not spending more than necessary to receive the service you need. When it comes to purchasing real estate, hiring the wrong person to help you can significantly add to your overall costs and unnecessarily complicate the already-complex process of buying property.

The question of whether to hire a real estate attorney or home buying agent is one that all prospective homeowners must ask themselves. An answer requires some objective research and an understanding of how each party makes money in their service to you. Whether you are buying or selling property, here’s what you need to know before signing on with either.

Am I Legally Required to Hire an Agent or Attorney?

Technically, no. You don’t have to hire a real estate agent or a lawyer to help you view or purchase property. A real estate agent primarily serves to connect buyers and sellers, though they may help you with some aspects of legal paperwork when buying a home. However, technically speaking, a licensed legal professional is the only person who can prepare contracts and other documents related to the sale or purchase of real estate. While you aren’t required to have an attorney’s help when seeking out a home or evaluating it, you may need one eventually in order to seal the deal, especially if anything out of the ordinary comes up.

If a legal conflict of any kind arises, you will need to involve an attorney, because a real estate agent will not have the legal expertise or capability to help you navigate such matters successfully. It’s always better to have the help you need from the beginning, rather than waiting until you are in a crisis.

What Is the Difference Between Using a Real Estate Agent and a Lawyer?

The primary difference between a home buying agent and a real estate attorney is how they get paid. A real estate agent makes their money from commissions on homes they sell. With this in mind, know that real estate agents are more likely to attempt to sway you toward more expensive homes to boost their own income. They also always receive a set commission when you buy or sell a home.

Real estate lawyers, on the other hand, are paid by the hour and can work with you as much (or as little) as you need. Because they do not get a cut of the sale price of the home in question, they will not press you to buy a certain home, or any home at all, for that matter.

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