How Does Your Firm Represent Clients In A Commercial Or Residential Real Estate Transaction?
It depends. We can jump in really at any stage. For instance, in the case of a current client that I am handling the purchase before the contract was ever signed. So I draw up the contract for them, for the purchase and sale and then, make sure that the party that I’m representing, that their interests pursuant to the contracts are protected and that they are enforced and then you have certain writers that may need to go along with the contract to make sure that they are properly prepared and executed by all the parties and then it goes to the closing where all the documents are required to obtain title insurance , if that is required, if there is any type of financing that is required by the financing company or a bank, that definitely will be required but even in a cash deal, it’s really a good idea to have owner’s insurance so you know it’s not required by a lender and you can close without it.
The purchaser puts themselves at risk if they do not obtain title insurance. So there are certain documents that the underwriter requires to make sure that those are executed by the parties and they don’t put the parties at risk and typically they don’t and that those are executed so that title insurance can be provided. Sometimes you will have extensions that are on there. A lot of times, I get involved where one party or the other will sign a contract and then the other one will decide to either try and cancel or terminate a contract. If there are deposits that are involved, sometimes they are not returned when they should be. Sometimes they are demanded to be returned and they really shouldn’t be but at that point, they should be non-refundable. So those issues pop up even prior to closing and those may, in some instances, go all the way to litigation.
We handle that all the way through litigation as well. Then, if those don’t pop up, then we are near the HUD statement which is the closing statement to make sure all the numbers add up. Typically they do because they are all computer generated but you still have humans that are entering information and checking to make sure that the proration for the taxes and for any kind of assessments due to the HOAs, any other means or encumbrances where they may have been counted for when the funds are being disbursed and then make sure that the funds are disbursed properly. If any of those things go wrong, as I stated before, my firm can handle the litigation and we will go through a trial if necessary.
Does Your Firm Review Purchase Contracts On Behalf Of Your Clients?
Yes. I think it’s a really good idea to have an attorney. A lot of times, I’m retained to actually draft those and there are standard contracts that are approved by the Florida Bar and what the Florida Board of Realtors refer to as the Florida Bar contracts. You can use those as a structure but typically there are specific needs on behalf of the buyer or the seller that should be incorporated into those contracts and the number of times where I’ve had to litigate cases is directly proportional to the number of times that people have executed contracts that were not drawn up by attorneys or not reviewed by attorneys once they were drawn up before they were executed by the clients or signed. So it’s a little dose of prevention which will save money in the long run.
It doesn’t cost a lot to have that drafted and to have that reviewed. Now, if you are dealing with complicated issues, some cost more but if you are dealing with complicated issues, when those blow up, those certainly are going to cost more when it comes time to fight those either in some kind of alternative dispute resolution venue or in litigation in court. So I think that I would always recommend that if the contract is not going to be drafted by an attorney, it certainly should be reviewed by an attorney prior to that party signing that contract to make sure that the client understands what the terms mean, what the deadlines mean and to put in any types of addendums in the contract before signing those if those are necessary to protect the client’s interests.
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