Whether you’re contemplating the purchase or sale of real estate, obtaining financing secured by real estate, or leasing a store or office, an attorney with extensive experience in this field is an essential partner to help you avoid pitfalls and protect your interests. We can be most effective if you involve us before you sign any agreements, including an offer or letter of intent. But we will jump in and do our best from any stage. We help clients negotiate the purchase contract or lease, alert them to critical dates, review the survey and title insurance commitment, including the restrictive covenants, easements and encumbrances imposed against the land, and otherwise guide our clients, always listening and responding to questions and concerns, until we oversee a smooth closing.
We will also act as borrower’s counsel. That means we review loan documents and deliver a borrower’s counsel opinion. We will also advise you of any egregious terms. Alternatively, we will draft loan documents on behalf of a lender to conform to the terms of the loan commitment, and work to see that the loan is properly secured. We frequently work in cooperation with real estate brokers; they take the lead on negotiating the financial terms of the deal while we work to see that your contract reflects those terms and gives you the legal protections you need. We represent buyers, sellers, borrower and lenders and would be pleased to represent you.
Many home buyers and sellers take an unnecessary risk by signing a contract without understanding its terms. If you are working with an experienced real estate agent and the standard form of offer and acceptance meets your needs, you may be able to proceed without an attorney. Many in Arkansas do. But if the realtor’s form does not describe the transaction as the parties intended, it may cost thousands of dollars in legal fees to either correct the transaction or avoid the agreement altogether. Hiring an experienced attorney to draft necessary provisions or to explain, from a legal perspective, the offer and acceptance and the financial documents during the home buying/selling process, will help you understand all aspects of your transaction. Even when working with a highly skilled realtor, you should engage an attorney if you have issues regarding easements, encroachments, party walls and other atypical issues, or if you need significant variances from the standard form contract. We recommend that you always get a survey, even if you are purchasing a home on a platted lot; that is the only way you will know if a driveway, fence or other improvement encroaches on a neighbor.
If you are buying or selling as a FSBO (for sale by owner) you clearly need an attorney to help you document the agreement and advise you regarding all facets of the transaction. The same is true if you are doing a lease with option to purchase. The downside of this is that you owe us a fee whether or not you close the deal. The upside is that our fees are typically much less than the 6% or 7% commission charged by most realtors. So if you are confident you have a deal we can be a key part of your FSBO team that helps you save money.
If you would like our assistance with your real estate transaction, please request a consultation. Bring with you the deal terms (including full names of all parties, including spouses for any party who is married), any deeds, surveys and tax assessments you have for the subject property, deal terms (price, dates, etc.) and any other information you have. We will meet with you and answer any questions and give you an idea of what we believe your project entails. When you call for an appointment, we will send you a questionnaire to help you gather the pertinent information. If you engage us, we will ask you to sign an Engagement Agreement and pay a deposit against which we will bill our time at our standard rates on an hourly basis, in one-tenth of an hour (6 minute) increments. You may be asked to replenish this deposit from time to time as fees are earned. If the matter is concluded without us earning all money, then on deposit we will promptly refund any excess. We will accept a Visa or MasterCard, but we assess a 3% fee when doing so.
We do not offer a free consultation with respect to real estate matters since we can often answer your questions in our initial meeting. In that event, you may pay us for our time at the conclusion of the meeting and no further deposit will be required.