Why Do I Need A Florida Real Estate Lawyer?
It is true that in Florida, one does not need a real estate attorney for most residential real estate transactions. However, it is definitely in the average person’s best interest to hire one anyway, simply because doing so may help to protect you from easily avoidable errors or problems during the process. If you are in the market for residential real estate, enlisting an attorney can help ensure that the transaction goes smoothly.
Real Estate Contracts Need Experienced Eyes
By far the most important part of the real estate purchase process is negotiating the contract between the buyer and seller. Many real estate contracts are straightforward, with few issues, but others may include more specific details – for example, the standard “As Is” FAR/BAR contract used by the Florida Realtors covers a wide range of topics, such as legal encumbrances on the deed or the land itself, acknowledgments of any defects in the property, and the price itself. This may confuse or even spook a purchaser not well versed in their obligations with regard to the contract itself.
It is crucial to understand that while real estate agents and title companies can work with you on the nuts and bolts of the actual purchase, they are not legally permitted to explain the contract or advise either party of the responsibilities it might create – doing so would technically count as the unauthorized practice of law. (In some cases, your real estate agent may not even have a duty to act in your best interests – some agents are licensed as ‘transaction brokers,’ who have no fiduciary duty toward the person they represent; they are merely there to facilitate the sale and collect a commission.) An experienced real estate attorney can help demystify any issues that seem confusing or out of place.
Help With Any Disputes
The other significant reason to retain a real estate attorney is that in the event of any disputes between you and the other party, you do not have to navigate disputes in court by yourself. The most common ‘dispute’ in real estate transactions will generally allege a breach of contract, meaning that one party did not fulfill its obligations, causing injury to the other party. (It is crucial to keep in mind that Florida case law requires the breach to be “material,” meaning that the non-breaching party must show an actual injury, not just concern or minor inconvenience.)
More specifically, some of the more common claims that may give rise to allegations of breach of contract include failing to disclose material defects on the property, title-related issues, or deadlines being missed (Florida recognizes “time is of the essence” provisions, holding that they are binding if inserted properly in the contract). A real estate attorney can help to advise you how to deal with these claims, and on what to do so that you have the best chance to prevail in your suit. Without experienced legal help, it may be all too easy to miss a detail that could make or break your case.
Contact A Tampa Real Estate Attorney
If you are in the market for residential real estate in Florida, be aware that while the process can be simple, it can also be quite complex, and it is better to enlist experienced legal help to deal with any issues than to try and go it alone. Tampa real estate lawyer Alicia Seward and the Seward Law Office have experience in navigating these concerns, and are ready to try and assist you with your potential transaction. Call our Tampa office today at 813-252-6789 to schedule a consultation.