Seattle Real Estate Attorney Services

Seattle Real estate attorney services span many related areas. Especially if you plan to buy, sell, rent, or lend a real estate in Seattle or anywhere in Washington? Read this to know how a real estate attorney can help you achieve this.

What Is a Seattle Real Estate Attorney?

A real estate attorney is a person whose job is to provide legal assistance for anyone who needs help with their real estate properties. These people are buyers, sellers, investors, lenders, mortgage brokers, real estate brokers, or escrow firms. They have a lot of responsibilities to help their clients, and it depends on what type of person they are working for. Most Seattle real estate attorneys provide services to their clients around the city and anywhere in the State of Washington, including nearby communities around the King County area, such as Renton, Redmond, Kent, and Bellevue.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Seattle Real Estate Lawyer?

Legal Document Drafting

Real estate attorneys draft various contracts that serve as legal documents for their clients. The contracts intend to negotiate with the other attorneys and have their clients review them to be aware of the basics and terms before deciding what they would like to do with a property. There are a lot of requirements that need to be met for a real estate contract to be valid. It needs to be written to contain an offer and an acceptance for two parties, what value must be exchanged for the property, be eligible for any parties involved entering into the contract and be genuinely legal without having illegal activity involved.

The following essential contracts include:

● Purchase contract: an agreement that a home buyer buys a home seller’s property and transfers the ownership.

● Residential contract: an offer for a home buyer to purchase a property.

● Commercial contract: an agreement between two or more businesses on what they are going to do with a property

● Real Estate Assignment Contract: an agreement that the property owner would sell the rights to purchase their property to an investor.

● Rental contract: an agreement that a landlord can allow a tenant to rent out the former’s property.

● Leases: an agreement for the tenant(s) to rent a property to pay the landlord their monthly rent.

● Easement: allowing someone to use someone else’s property for a specific purpose.

Other important legal documents the real estate lawyers have to draft include documents from lenders, title insurance policies, mortgage documents, property tax documents, and transfer documents.

Seattle Real Estate Attorney Property Title Searching Services

When a buyer seeks to purchase a property, their attorney needs to know its title. A title refers to the original owner of a property and, to an extension, any previous owners that owned the property before that person. While the Washington real estate law doesn’t require you to have a Seattle real estate lawyer to certify title, it’s best if you hire one so they would like to know that there are no outstanding claims or liens against a property you want to purchase nor any fraudulent transfers or missing pieces of information along the chain of past ownership. To make sure that there isn’t any suspicious activity or anything missing about the title, the buyer’s attorney would research the title before they can set up title insurance to protect their client and to ensure them that they would be the sole holder of the title and not anyone else once the buyer obtains ownership. In addition, the home seller’s attorney would have to correct any issues with the title that may come up during the purchase and arranges for a security deposit transfer.

Role in the Purchase/Selling/Renting/Lending of a Property

Whenever someone plans to buy, sell, or rent out a real estate in Seattle, the real estate attorneys are there to represent their clients. And depending on the type of client they are working with, the attorneys would also provide them and their interests legal protection and service and guidance.

Buying said property without a broker on the buyer’s behalf. For the home buyers, their attorneys are responsible for drafting the real estate purchase contracts and sale agreement with the home seller’s attorneys, reviewing any title report, inspecting and appraising a property their clients are seeking to purchase, and reviewing closing documents. They are also responsible for helping the buyer understand the purchase contract and prepare to file all the necessary legal documentation.

For the home sellers, their attorneys are responsible for hiring a broker, handling the property taxes and fees, preparing the deed and other transaction documents, dealing with any liens and title issues by providing obligation for disclosure and title, and protecting the home seller’s investment and assets during the process of selling the property. The attorney also helps the seller prepare the purchase and sale agreement with the buyer, including negotiating any terms for them and attending the closing.

The landlords, and their Seattle Real Estate attorneys, are responsible for drafting lease-related contracts, such as rental agreements, negotiating contracts with the tenant(s) and their attorneys, handling security deposits, repairing and maintaining the rented property, handling evictions, and trying to settle any disagreement between the two parties.

And for the tenants, their attorneys are responsible for filling in paperwork with the landlord’s attorneys for the leasing agreement, checking for the title of the property that the tenant is planning to stay, and dealing with any issues between the tenant and the landlord, such as the landlord unfairly evict the tenant.

Attending the Closing of a Seattle Property

The closing of a property is when the home buyer is ready to pay the home seller to transfer the title/ownership of a house. While the Washington real estate law doesn’t require you to have a real estate lawyer with you for the closing, they have a role in acting as a liaison between all people involved during it. They represent the interests of the client they are working with (either the buyer or the seller) and are responsible for handling the transaction process during the property purchase. The attorneys transfer the seller’s property title to the buyer and the funds from the buyer to the seller. Both the buyer’s attorney and the seller’s attorney are also responsible for reviewing all the papers and documents in advance for their clients so that the two parties can sign them in agreement with the process. The buyer’s attorney would ensure that the proceedings are legal and binding, whereas the seller’s attorney would help negotiate the terms of the sale.

Dealing with Seattle Real Estate Legal Disputes

Whenever a real estate dispute occurs, the attorney’s responsibility is to solve the problem and provide legal representation for their clients. The conflicts may be a breach of contract agreement between a buyer and a seller, foreclosure, mortgage fraud, title issues, boundary line problems, or adverse possession. A Seattle real estate attorney’s job is to protect the rights of their clients during these disputes. So whenever one occurs, they need to get to the root of the problem and obtain facts from both sides to find the best possible solution for their clients. For example, if there is an issue regarding the property’s title, it is the attorney’s job to clear the title error before they can draft the deed to convey the property from one person to another.

A landlord and a tenant can also have a real estate law group if they ever need help resolving any rental disputes between the two parties. Suppose the landlord has trouble with their tenant, such as failing to pay their monthly rent on time or violating the rental contract terms. In that case, the landlord’s Seattle attorney has to fight for their rights to reclaim the property, including evicting the tenant if necessary. Likewise, suppose the tenant has any trouble with their landlord, such as the latter violating the Just Cause Eviction Protection (JCEP), a Washington real estate law that prevents landlords from unfairly ending a rental agreement with their tenant. In that case, the tenant’s attorney has to fight for their rights and take legal action against the landlord if necessary.

How Much Does a Seattle Real Estate Attorney Charge?

Most Seattle real estate attorneys usually charge either an hourly fee or a flat rate. This, of course, varies between different attorneys and the area where you hire them for their service. In Washington, a typical lawyer charges between $175 and $378 per hour, while Seattle real estate attorneys charge an average hourly rate of $288.

Should You Hire a Real Estate Attorney in Seattle?

Despite how expensive hiring a real estate attorney could be, it’s important to remember that they are there to help you as their clients since it’s part of their service. Not everybody is required to have a real estate attorney in Seattle. However, if something happens, it’s still in your best interest to hire one as your guide if you ever need help navigating through the legal process and have your interests protected. This can save you time and money and prevent you from dealing with legal troubles and costly lawsuits later. It’s recommended that you hire an attorney who has a lot of experience and knowledge in their field since they would be better suited for your individual needs and get you better results.

However, it’s up to you if you want to hire a real estate lawyer or not. If you don’t want to hire one because you have some understanding of Washington real estate laws, you can handle everything independently.

The law doesn’t require you to have a real estate attorney all the time, unlike in other states. But, it is highly recommended you hire a Seattle Real Estate Law professional.

Mr. Scher has practiced commercial and residential real estate law for more than 20 years. He is also a licensed Washington State real estate broker. Seattle Real Estate Group’s practice includes negotiating and drafting commercial and residential purchase and sale agreements, financing agreements for buyers and sellers, and loan workouts and modifications for investors and lending institutions. Also, Mr. Scher’s firm represents clients concerning real estate disputes related to purchasing and sale agreements, escrow and title issues, and commercial leases.

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