- Ensure the attorney is specialised in property.
- Seek advice from friends and check reviews.
- The property attorney can advise on procedures such as signing the Offer to Purchase and transferring the property.
Whether buying or selling a home, you’re dealing with a valuable asset and will want to seek the best guidance in navigating the complications of property law. Here’s how a property attorney can help.
How to choose a property attorney
- Ensure the attorney is specialised in property. Don’t just hire an attorney because you’re familiar with them. For example, some people hire a divorce attorney or estate attorney simply because they’ve dealt with them in the past. Ensure the attorney is specialised in property.
- Seek advice from friends. Find out if anyone you know has used a property attorney and if they can recommend one.
- Check reviews. Websites such as hellopeter provide ratings for businesses, including attorneys.
- Your estate agent may be able to recommend a property attorney.
- The seller also has to hire a conveyancing attorney but bear in mind that conveyancing attorneys are not the same as property attorneys. They oversee the transfer of property process but are not obligated to advise either party (buyer or seller) according to their interests.
Why hire a property attorney?
The process of purchasing or selling a house or commercial property entails a number of legal procedures that can prove a headache for the average buyer or seller.
The services of a property attorney can be significantly beneficial in navigating the myriad of laws pertaining to property transactions, ownership, and transfer.
Some areas in which the property attorney can be of assistance:
- Advising on the Offer to Purchase, the document dictating the terms and conditions of the property transaction as agreed on by buyer and seller. Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, the attorney can suggest clauses to include that will protect you.
- Advising on legal procedures such as the transfer of property and bond registration process
- Reviewing documents pertaining to the property, such as title deeds and wills.
- Advise on the laws pertaining to property transactions in your particular province.
- Elaborate on the differences in legal procedure between commercial and residential properties.
- Helping businesses negotiate contracts for commercial properties.
- Advising on what’s involved when the bond is joint-owned.
Laws pertaining to property practitioners
The Property Practitioners Act (PPA) was passed in February 2022. This act provides additional protection for property buyers and increased regulation of professionals involved in the transfer of property.
So sellers need to be aware of the obligations bestowed on them by the PPA. For example, the law makes it obligatory to disclose all known defects in a property.
Attorneys are exempt from the law as they are already regulated by the Legal Practice Council, but they can advise on the ramifications of the law for both buyers and sellers.
If purchasing rather than selling a property, ensure you know what home loan you qualify for. This will make it easier for the property attorney to guide you through the process.
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