Joe Polyak May 31, 2018
What considerations should buyers and sellers keep in mind regarding the legal aspects of a real estate transaction? This and more will be addressed in today’s great interview with attorney April Glatt.
Today I’m excited to bring you a special vendor interview with attorney April Glatt of Chauvel & Glatt, LLP. You may refer to the video above to see the entire exchange, but I will also sum up our conversation here. April and her team handle a variety of litigation, including work pertaining to certain aspects of real estate—such as lease reviews, purchases, and sales.
Specifically, their involvement with real estate extends to areas ranging from the period of purchase to close of escrow, as well as various broker-seller listing agreement disputes.
That said, there are certain issues she has noticed are more prevalent than others in our area. Appraisal problems are a prime example of this. When an appraisal doesn’t reflect the buyer’s (or seller’s) expectations, a dispute may arise. This tends to result in the renegotiation of the deal. Renegotiations can also occur when inspection issues (which are another common complication) emerge.
The subsequent solution in the case of an inspection problem may be to add an addendum to extend contingencies in the contract. Other, less easily resolved issues may also come into play. So approaching a professional like April adds significant value to those involved with a complex real estate transaction. Having legal counsel can provide a greater sense of security for someone who is buying or selling a home.
Receiving preemptive legal advice may also be beneficial when navigating a real estate transaction. Consulting with a professional like April regarding questions such as whether a purchase agreement is adequately comprehensive could prevent unforeseen difficulties later on.
This isn’t to say that Realtors aren’t adept at advising their clients through the real estate process, of course. But when agents work collaboratively with attorneys, buyers and sellers are able to enjoy a more complete range of service. The teamwork between these two kinds of professionals allows their clients to achieve the greatest results when pursuing their real estate goals.
However, sometimes buyers and sellers wait to seek help until it’s too late. This is why April highly recommends that people work with both a Realtor and a lawyer from early on in the process. This is especially important in cases where the Realtor is a dual agent. According to April, 80% of the buyer-seller disputes she encounters result from a dual agency situation.
“You have to know your Realtor,” she said as a follow-up to her remarks on dual agency. “I think that’s the most important thing.” She also notes that disclosures are particularly important when dual agency is an element of the transaction. To succeed, dual agency must exist in a very controlled and transparent environment.
Of course, while the majority of issues April handles result from dual agency, it is not the only circumstance that can lead to problems in a real estate transaction. First-time homebuyers, especially, should take care to follow certain steps, while avoiding certain blunders. “Especially in our San Francisco Bay area market,” April remarked, “Buyers feel a lot of pressure to put down that all-cash, no-contingencies offer.”
“I think it’s really important that buyers take a step back and think about their financial capacity,” added April. Many buyers may overextend themselves trying to meet the expectations that seem to be circulating in today’s market. But considering what value a home truly presents is critical. While competition may be hot, buyers should not forgo the inspection in hopes of presenting a more appealing offer. Inspections protect buyers against unsavory (and potentially expensive) surprises.
Sellers, too, should be careful when navigating our present real estate environment. April advises those who are listing not to jump at every offer. Focusing too much on an attractive price could be a mistake, as other aspects of the deal will also have a major impact. Partnering with their agent to review every offer is something every seller should do before making a final decision. Ultimately, professional guidance, whether from a Realtor, attorney, or (hopefully) both, is the key to a smooth and successful real estate transaction.
And, as always, if you have any other questions for me or would like more information, please get in touch. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
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