Why It's Important for Attorneys to Assist in Real Estate Transactions

Attorney Michael Hynum discusses potential legal issues that can arise before, during and after purchasing real estate. For your convenience, the transcription for the video is included below.

Why It's Important for Attorneys to Assist in Real Estate Transactions

“Hi, this is Mike Hynum with Hynum Law in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and today I’d like to talk to you a little bit about why it’s a good idea to consider having an attorney assist you with real estate transactions. Now often, people go and get a realtor, which is fine, and deal with them when purchasing a home or commercial property.

But there are times that it’s good to have an attorney working with you, and I’m going to cover three main reasons that it can be beneficial to have an attorney. The first is deeds and property descriptions, the second is zoning, and the third is mortgages.

Deeds and Property Descriptions

With deeds and property descriptions, it essentially says the outlines or the borders of your property – here’s where it starts, here’s where it ends, it includes anything that might have any easements or rights of way, and oftentimes those are copied from one deed to the next – and they’re wrong.

I had a client come to me one time with a problem: they had purchased twelve areas and wanted to sell four out of the twelve. When they got their deeds back, the property descriptions were the same – they actually transferred all twelve acres to the buyer, so we had to go back and correct it.

So it’s always good to have an attorney working with you to look at your property descriptions, make sure your deeds are right, make sure that anything that’s in there in terms of easements or rights of way look to be reasonable and legal.

Zoning Restrictions

With respect to zoning, all properties are zoned: some are residential, some are mixed use, some are commercial. A lot of the communities now are even putting things in their property restrictions where you can’t put up sheds or you can’t put up clotheslines, and if you’re going to buy a property where you want to use it for something specific – such as putting up a pole barn, or building to work on antique cars or something - you want to make sure the property you’re buying allows for such a thing.

When you’re dealing with residential properties that are zoned residential, it’s really important that you check to make sure that if you have certain things you want to do on that property, that you’re going to actually be allowed to do them.

With commercial transactions, it’s not as common that you’re going to have those kinds of problems - especially if a property is zoned commercial. But you want to make sure that you understand exactly what any restrictions are that may be on that property, and that you’re going to be able to do exactly what it is you want to do when you in fact get into that property and occupy it.

Residential and Commercial Mortgages

With respect to mortgages, nowadays there are so many complications with residential mortgages; things have really changed over the last five years or so and there are a lot more pitfalls and hoops to jump through when it comes to residential mortgages. With commercial mortgages, things are a little bit more straightforward. But, you’re also talking either way, generally, about a lot of money. So it’s important that you have an attorney working with you to review the documents, make sure the interest rates are clear and correct, make sure that anything that is in the mortgage documents that puts any kind of restrictions on you (such as prepayment penalties or interest rate fluctuations) are explained to you and you understand them before signing the documents.

There are many, many, many good reasons to consider using the services of an attorney when entering into a real estate transaction. I’ve covered three briefly here today, but if you have questions about those issues or any other issues regarding real estate transactions, don’t hesitate to contact us or give us a call at (717) 801-1105. I’m Mike Hynum, managing partner at Hynum Law, in Harrisburg Pennsylvania. Thank you for watching.”