Every state is different when it comes to settlement agents and the various roles parties play in the settlement of real estate. In Virginia, settlements are usually conducted by a non-attorney settlement agency. However, you certainly have the right to hire an attorney as you enter the closing. Depending on the part of the state you reside in, it may or may not be common practice to hire an attorney to accompany you to the closing. In Richmond, Virginia, where my practice is located, it has become more of a common practice in recent years for both the seller and the buyer to hire their own attorney.
There are advantages in hiring an attorney to assist in your closing.
When you go to close commercial or residential real estate, you are presented with a multitude of documents and forms that you must review and sign. Unless you are involved in a real estate profession, you may become overwhelmed by the number of questions asked. Please remember that a settlement agent cannot provide legal advice or counsel, neither can the other party’s attorney.
Often times, before closing, my clients want to know how the various reports, inspections and statements will affect their rights in the future. As a purchaser, you want peace of mind that you have a clean start when buying a new property. As a seller, you want to ensure that you no longer have duties or obligations regarding your former property.
Further, an attorney may be beneficial in the days or weeks preceding a closing. From the moment you are presented with a contract and offer, you may find it beneficial to sit down and review with an attorney. During this time, any terms or conditions may be explained to you in full. If there are parts of the agreement which you do not like, an attorney may have better leverage when attempting to negotiate with the other side.
Contact my Richmond, Virginia law office if you have questions about buying or selling a house.
The days preceding a closing can seem rather chaotic. You may become aware of new facts which affect the desirability of the property. Figures and estimates can change. My office can help you negotiate this time so that you are able to finally relax when the closing is complete.
Ryan C. Young | Real Estate Attorney | Richmond, Virginia