Should You Hire a Real Estate Agent or Lawyer When Buying a Property

When you’re thinking about buying property, one of the first questions that pop to mind is, “Should I do this on my own or hire some assistance?” In a huge majority of cases, the answer is that doing everything on your own will make the process much, much harder, and we’d also be very surprised if you got a good deal without some assistance. In most cases, the only real question is: “Should I hire a real estate agent or a lawyer?” Both can be of invaluable assistance when it’s time to buy a property, but the ways they can help differ. 

Why You Should Hire a Lawyer

What makes a real estate agent different from a lawyer when it comes to buying a property? First of all, by law, real estate agents cannot give legal advice. While you are not obligated by law to hire a lawyer when buying a property here (unlike in some other states), you may have some legal questions that only a lawyer can answer. For example, you may want to rent a property for some time (let’s say for a year) before making the decision on whether you should buy the property or not. If the seller agrees to that, an attorney can draft this unusual contract and provide legal advice on the matter that a real estate agent could not.

A good lawyer will help you by answering all the legal questions that a real estate agent cannot lawfully answer.

As lawyers charge an hourly fee, before buying a property and moving in with the help of experienced professionals from, it’s a good idea to make a list of all the legal questions you may have and arrange a meeting with an attorney. Then, you can ask everything you need, as well as make arrangements on all the additional services you may need that a real estate agent can’t help you with (drafting the contract from the previous paragraph, for example).

Why You Should Hire a Real Estate Agent

While a lawyer will help you with some specific parts of the home buying procedure, you’ll still need to hire a real estate agent as well. A real estate professional will be with you every step of the way, acting as a sort of a guide to your home buying process. And if you’re buying a property, you’ll be pleased to learn that sellers are the ones who will pay the agents of both parties. The commission is usually 10 percent of the arranged home price, divided equally between the two agents. The logic behind this rule is that sellers will be receiving a lot of money, and so they should be the ones to pay all agents who will take care of the buying-selling process.

So, if you hire a real estate agent, your wallet won’t have a problem with that; you will basically get an invaluable service for free. And what exactly does that service entail? Buying a property is a complex procedure – lots of paperwork will need to be done, inspectors will need to be hired, a comparative home prices analysis will need to be prepared, etc. While some lawyers will try to convince you that they can do everything on their own, that is most often not the case. Real estate professionals will be better at all of these tasks, simply because they have dedicated their lives to buying and selling real estate; they have much more experience and they know how to use it.

Apart from many other ways that a real estate agent can help you, he or she will be able to find a perfect house for you in the specified neighborhood.

This gives them an edge in all sorts of home-buying tasks. Apart from the ones we have already mentioned, they are also much better at negotiating. Let’s say that, for example, some parts of the home will need to be fixed. You’ll need to determine whether you or the seller will be the one who has to make these repairs. In this case, a good real estate agent will help you negotiate an arrangement that is better for you financially. What’s more, an experienced real estate agent who is a good fit for you will be acquainted with the neighborhood where you’re looking for your dream home. He or she will know just what to look for based on your description.

Additional Things to Have in Mind

So, should you hire a real estate agent or a lawyer? The answer is – why not both? Combining the individual strengths of these two professions will get you the best deal. Rely on attorneys for legal advice that a real estate agent cannot offer, and hire a real estate agent for everything else.

Before you hire a real estate agent and a lawyer who will seal the deal, you’ll need to have some things in mind. Alt text: A man signing a contract.

Still, simply hiring any real estate agent and lawyer is not enough; you will need to find a dependable and competent real estate agent, and the same goes for your lawyer. Here is what to look out for:

  • Sometimes, it may so happen that an opportunity to share a real estate agent with the seller emerges. In our opinion, that would be wrong to do. As real estate agents make a living off of commissions, they might be looking for the sellers’ best interest in this situation and not yours. Ethical agents who won’t do this certainly exist, but it’s best to be on the safe side anyway.
  • Real estate agents may press you to offer a higher price because of similarly unethical reasons. The more you pay, the larger their commission, after all. What’s more, some of them will be afraid to negotiate because doing so might mean that they won’t get to close the deal. If it seems that your agent doesn’t respect your opinion and is only looking to close the deal as soon as possible, it is best to find a different agent. Doing research on your own regarding home prices in the given neighborhood will help you avoid such unpleasant situations.
  • Most lawyers prefer to be hired and paid only after the home buying process is complete. However, it may suit you more to only pay for one consulting session or one or two specific tasks. That can be arranged, just have the arrangement in writing (better safe than sorry).

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Fredericksburg, Stafford, Orange, Locust Grove, Norther Virginia or even Maryland or DC, we are your Real Estate team committed to finding the perfect home for you! Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by homeowners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar, and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, one of our area expert advisors will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available properties, please visit our website