If you are buying a home in Massachusetts, you will quickly come to a point where you need to review a Purchase and Sales (P&S) Agreement. This document is several pages long and includes legally binding terms related to your purchase. Since real estate agents are forbidden from practicing law, they cannot provide you with legal advice on this document. You must therefore decide whether to ask an attorney to review it on your behalf. You may be given the option to use the closing attorney hired by the lender, but should you ask the closing attorney to review your P&S? Here are a few things to consider before making that decision.
Why Have an Attorney Review a P&S
There is no such thing as a standard P&S agreement. Real estate agents typically prepare the P&S agreement using a form provided by their Realtor board. There are several different templates out there and they generally contain the most common terms in a home sale but their wording may be different. Since every buyer and every home purchase scenario is different, the P&S template may not necessarily contain everything that it should. More importantly, it may not contain important provisions to protect your interests as a buyer. That’s where you attorney comes in.
If you use a Massachusetts real estate attorney, he or she will likely add an addendum. Likewise, the seller’s attorney may add one as well. Furthermore, the attorneys may actually negotiate terms located within the P&S and the addenda. Every change may impact your rights and liabilities both prior to completion of the sale and after the sale is completed. Since most home buyers are not versed in these legal complexities, it is best to hire an attorney.
Role of Closing Attorney
The closing attorney is hired by your lender to perform a title search, prepare documents for the closing, perform the actual closing, and file necessary documents at the registry of deeds. Although you are the one receiving the loan and paying the attorney’s fees, the closing attorney works for the lender and not directly for you, the buyer. Most closing attorneys will offer to review the P&S agreement for free or for a discounted rate. Saving a little money is often appealing to home buyers.
Hiring Your Own Attorney
MA home buyers also have the option of hiring their own attorney. Doing so ensures that the attorney reviewing the P&S is legally representing you as a home buyer. Your attorney may also provide some additional services related to the home purchase process. If you are buying and selling a home at the same time, it may be convenient to have that same attorney representing you in both transactions.
Should You Ask the Closing Attorney to Review Your P&S?
Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong answer to this question. Buyers in Massachusetts do it both ways without any issue. It comes down to the complexity of your transaction and your comfort level. If you have a fairly simple transaction, you may find the services offered by the closing attorney more than sufficient. If you have a complex transaction and are looking for a lot of advice and guidance, you may want to hire your own attorney for extended services and peace of mind. Now that you know the different between the two, this should help you make an educated decision.
The attorneys at Martino Law Group provide both types of services for P&S review. We perform real estate closings and often review P&S agreements on behalf of those buyers. We are also often hired by buyers to directly represent them in a home purchase. Please contact us for additional information.