"When should I hire a real estate attorney?" there is an easy answer: "Whenever you think you need one."

Things You Will Need

It is important, then, that you understand both your real estate agent's limitations and your own and when a transaction has surpassed them both.

Step 1

Unless your agent is also a lawyer, not only should he be using pre-printed forms, you should expect and demand it. The purchase agreement is a legal form and needs to be drawn up by a lawyer. That does not mean that you need hire a lawyer to do so. In most cases, everything is taken care of in the pre-printed forms available from brokers or even from regional Real Estate associations or boards. Your agent will most likely use them for every transaction and would never dream of doing anything else.

Most real estate transactions take place without the buyer or seller hiring an attorney, and most of these transactions do not end up in court. However, when agents and clients try to act beyond their ability and try to act as lawyers when they are not, that is when the trouble starts. Expect your agent to limit himself to his areas of expertise, and, if necessary, be willing to make a short-term investment in the services of a real estate attorney. It could save you a court battle down the road.

Tips & Warnings

Also, be aware that the papers you are filling out with your agent are legal documents. The seller's disclosure is a legal document and if a problem arises, it will be used as such in court. Your agent should play no part in filling out the disclosure. He should offer you no help and make no suggestions, with a few exceptions, such as be honest and forthright and disclose everything.