Questions to Ask Real Estate Attorneys

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Buying or selling property can be a complicated and confusing matter. Before you decide to buy or sell property, know your options and legal rights by consulting a real estate attorney. Asking your real estate attorney about deeds, title insurances and contract sale requirements will make the process of buying or selling real estate go more smoothly.

Are There Any Contract Sale Requirements?

For a contract to buy or sell property to be legally valid, the contract must be in writing, signed by the buyer and seller and contain essential terms. Essential terms include a physical description of the land, including it's location, the name and address of each party, and the price to be paid. If any of these terms or requirements are missing, the sale and contract will not be valid unless two out of three special conditions are met. These special conditions include instances in which a full or partial payment for the real estate has been paid, the buyer has already taken possession of the property or the buyer has made valuable improvements to the land.

What are Deeds?

A deed is a legal document that transfers ownership of the property between the seller and the buyer. A sale or transfer of real estate cannot be completed without a deed. The most common type of deed is a general warranty deed. As the name suggests, a general warranty deed comes with a warranty that no other person has a right to the property, which protects the buyer. Other types of deeds include speciality warranty deeds, which are often called bargain and sale deeds, and have limited protection and quit-claim deeds. Unlike the other deeds, quit-claim deeds offers little to no protection to the buyer because a quit-claim deed only conveys the owners interest in the property, if he has any at all. There is no guarantee he has rights and that no other party also has rights. Typically, quit-claim deeds are only used when real estate is being transferred between family members.

What is Title Insurance?

Title insurance insulates a buyer from defects that may be discovered later. During the sale process, a history of the title for the property is checked to determine whether the current owners are the sole owners. A title search and title insurances ensures that the property can be conveyed to the buyer. In the event the search reveals the sellers do not have a good title, meaning some other person has interest or rights in the property or that there is no clear title, title insurance protects the buyer from issues that may arise as a result.


About the Author

Lindsay Nixon has been writing since 2007. Her work has appeared in "Vegetarian Times," "Women's Health Magazine" and online for The Huffington Post. She is also a published author, lawyer and certified personal trainer. Nixon has two Bachelors of Arts in classics and communications from the College of Charleston and a Juris Doctor from the New England School of Law.

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