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I am purchasing a million dollar house. Should I hire an attorney?

What would be the cost? What specific advantages would there be to hiring an attorney? I know it is not required in PA but is it a good idea?
  • February 24 2013 - Philadelphia
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Answers (17)

If it will make you feel more comfortable, absolutely.  The cost to review the documents should be minimal, and it will give you peace of mind.
  • March 10 2013
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Yes, 100%, you should hire an attorney. Cost will vary, but I wouldn't purchase a property without one. Think of it as having someone to double check everyones work before handing in the final exam that costs 1 million dollars, and will affect your life for approximately the next 30 years.
  • February 27 2013
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Some good answers on there already, and really this is a pure opinion question.  A person is free to hire an attorney on any transaction, not just for a $1 million dollar home.  I would suggest you contact one there in PA to see what they charge.  For example, my wife is a real estate attorney and charges $330 per hour.  When it comes to our contracts, on residential income she actually refers clients to me, but again, to each their own.
Good luck with the potential purchase.

Spirit
  • February 27 2013
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It would be to your comfort level and any Realtor will not discourage you in seeking out an attorney for advice.  If  this is what will make you feel more at ease, Then consult one before signing.

 in Texas on the 1-4 residential contract there is a dedicated paragraph on the contract which  clearly states CONSULT AN ATTORNEY: TREC rules prohibit real estate licensees from giving legal advice. Read this contract carefully. If you do not understand the effect of this conotract, consult an attorney BEFORE signing.

Best wishes!

  • February 27 2013
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Yes.
  • February 27 2013
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In Pennsylvania none of my million dollar Main Line real estate buyers or sellers (I have done 8 such transactions in the last two years) have used an attorney. Pennsylvania is a Title state with no requirement of an attorney. That said, it is really a matter of your own feelings of security with your agent and the home purchase. I would caution that if you are going to hire an attorney, be sure to do so before you sign the Agreement of Sale. Once the AOS is fully executed, an attorney's ability to help is much more limited in the opinion of Philadelphia attorneys I asked.
  • February 27 2013
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If you hired a Buyer's Broker to represent you,  he/she would be able to refer you to an attorney who would give you a package deal for representing you on the purchase of the property. The average attorney fees are around $500 to $750. It is always better to hire an attorney while buying a house as you may need somebody well versed with the legal aspects on your side in case something goes wrong. 
  • February 25 2013
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Whether or not you need an attorney varies widely by location.  In our area, Minneapolis, the majority of transactions are handled without the use of an attorney.  We as real estate agents would never discourage a client to use an attorney if they want to, but it is not necessary. 
  • February 25 2013
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I am an attorney in PA (Phila metro area) who happens to also be a Realtor. A great majority of my law practice is in the world of property. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
  • February 25 2013
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I am licensed Realtor in DC, Maryland, and Virginia so I can only answer with knowledge about these jurisdictions. Here Realtors are trained and licensed to protect protect their clients. Buyers or Sellers. It is our legal duty. I would bring the transaction to a closing title company to further protect my clients.  
  • February 25 2013
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I always recommend using an attorney.  If you are choosing and paying for a title company then hire the attorney attached to the title company.  If it is a short sale and you are using their title company the answer is a RESOUNDING YES!
  • February 25 2013
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I always recommend hiring an Attorney. Buying a house is the biggest purchase you will make. An attorney is looking out for YOUR interests!
It's well worth the price to cover any issues that arise before or after closing. Well worth the cost - which can be under $1000 (a small % of purchase price).
  • February 25 2013
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Discuss it with your buyer agent, it is really your preference.  Here in NH we use closing companies.
  • February 25 2013
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Profile picture for RealEstateCrew
If you are working with a Realtor, ask them this question and weigh their advise.  If you are not working with a Realtor, then yes you need an attorney.  
  • February 25 2013
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I would strongly recommend you hire an attorney.  You did not indicate you were using a Realtor.  A Realtor uses specific forms and contracts approved by the attorneys for the  Real Estate Board in Pa.  If you are purchasing without the aid of a Realtor you do not know the legality of the contracts you are signing.

The advantage is that one check mark or set of initials on a contract can assure you of certain rights in the transaction or deny them to you.

I try to use an attorney who also owns a title company.  I have had several instances where issues arose before closing where it was necessary to have the advice and assistance of an attorney.

You are talking about a huge investment compared to the average transaction.  Personally I would want an attorney to coordinate the transaction.  Attorney fees to close a transaction can range from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars.

When it comes to selecting an attorney - ONLY use one who states their practice focuses on Real Estate.  Attorneys specialize just like Doctors.  Using an attorney who specializes in accident cases would not be a good idea.
  • February 25 2013
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How many million dollar transactions do you do, 740x?
  • February 24 2013
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Profile picture for craigfial

I have had situations where having an attorney was extremely helpful and other times where the attorney completely made the tranaction a nightmare. 

You may want to have them look at the title work.  Title companies are inserting tons of exceptions in their policies that if you ask will be removed, and also review the closing statement for errors.

  • February 24 2013
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