The attorney’s tasks in the basic residential real estate transaction depend heavily on the client’s level of sophistication and also somewhat on the real estate broker’s level of involvement.
Generally, the attorney’s responsibilities may be broken down into seven steps:
- Attending to preliminary matters (e.g., educating the buyer about homeownership and discussing the income tax consequences of the sale with the seller).
- Advising the client about the liabilities and protections associated with a property that is for sale by owner, or reviewing the listing or buyer agency contract if a broker is involved in the transaction.
- Drafting or reviewing the buyer’s offer to purchase and reviewing an offer to purchase for a seller.
- Assisting with the financial aspects of the transaction.
- Preparing or reviewing closing documents, reviewing title, confirming the status or property taxes and assessments, and verifying financial arrangements.
- Closing the transaction.
- Following up with the client after closing.