What Does a Real Estate Attorney Do for a Seller?

What Does a Real Estate Attorney Do for a Seller?

Real estate lawyers assist with home sales, starting from the minute the contract is signed through the negotiation (aptly known as “attorney review”) to closing. The seller’s attorney examines sales contracts, professionally communicates terms, and attends closings to prevent any problems.

A home sale is a complex process that necessitates in-depth knowledge of local, state, and federal regulations. A lawyer can help protect your assets and investments while making sure you are following all legal requirements, which can prevent costly mistakes. In many states, real estate lawyers are necessary. But it is best to use a lawyer while selling even if you are not legally required to do so.

Do I need to hire a Real Estate Lawyer to Sell my Property?

Maryland law requires attorneys to be a part of the closing process. If the other party in your transaction has an attorney representing them and supporting their interests, you should engage a lawyer as a best practice. Under Maryland law, it is necessary to use a lawyer, whether you are selling your house by yourself (privately) or with a realtor.

If you are selling your house on your own and the property is not in Maryland (or another state that requires the involvement of an attorney), it is up to you. You will need to use your discretion to decide whether the situation warrants legal counsel. A seasoned real estate attorney can make the road to closing much more manageable while ensuring that your best interests are entirely protected.

End to End Involvement

As offers come in and counteroffers are made, the seller should consult their attorney. Some proposals will have negative or beneficial tax consequences. A knowledgeable real-estate attorney will be able to highlight these to his seller.

After a signed contract is in hand, the second phase of legal work for the seller starts. The buyer’s attorney will search the title to make sure it is clear while the seller’s attorney takes the lead in solving any issues.

The buyer’s attorney will review the title, and once they are satisfied, the lawyer of the seller will draft the deed that transfers the property to the buyer. This is typically a straightforward job of reusing the deed’s language and updating it with the necessary changes.

In cases where the property has improvements (structures, residence), the seller’s attorney will usually get the seller to sign a mechanic’s lien waiver, stating that no one who has worked on the property for a specific duration before the closing remains unpaid or that the seller agrees to pay any such bills before closing.

Before the closing, the seller’s attorney will assess the proposed settlement statement prepared by the buyer’s lawyer. They will thoroughly review all the financial aspects of the transaction during this assessment.

The seller’s attorney should get the pay-off number from any lender with a note secured by the property and provide this information to the seller and the buyer’s attorney.

After this, the seller’s attorney should prepare a certificate of satisfaction that shows the seller paid off any such loans. The seller’s attorney represents the seller during the closing, and this certificate is recorded after closing.

Ideally, sellers should work with an attorney with strong negotiation and problem-solving abilities. Many tasks involved are routine in nature. However, the seller’s attorney becomes necessary when a problem has to be resolved fast to save the deal.

Specific Situations to Engage a Real Estate Attorney

According to many frequent sellers, real estate lawyers are vital. Real estate transactions involve substantial amounts of money and heaps of associated documents. In such circumstances, a skilled attorney can help address problems throughout the process. Below are some special circumstances when working with a real estate attorney is definitely recommended:


In case you have outstanding liens on your home, a lawyer can help solve these issues and clear any obstacles in closing. They can work with the title company to ensure that all lien holders are paid off.

Joint Sale

If you are selling a property with someone besides your spouse, a lawyer can help you ensure that the interests of both parties are protected. A lawyer for each party will ensure that the interests of both sellers are upheld.

Short Sale

In a short sale, there are additional hoops to jump through as your lender is consenting to let you sell your property for less than you owe them. A lawyer can guide you through this complex situation.

Estate Sale

If you have received the home you’re selling as an inheritance, working with a lawyer through ownership documents can reduce the burden, which is particularly meaningful when you are grieving the loss of a loved one.

Skilled and Knowledgeable Real Estate Lawyer and Broker in Maryland

In Maryland, Matthew S. Evans, III, is a highly regarded real estate attorney and a licensed real estate broker. Matt and his skilled team offer strong legal representation to residential and commercial clients, successfully handling real estate transactions of varying complexities. We understand the local laws in Annapolis and the state of Maryland. Our team has a nuanced understanding of local customs and concerns regarding zoning, development, and other real estate matters.

Under the purview of our civil practice, we handle residential and commercial transactions, draft complex contracts, including commercial leases and construction contracts. Further, our practice has extensive appellate and litigation experience in State and Federal courts. To speak to an experienced Maryland real estate attorney, call today at (410) 626-6009.