Buying a new home or selling your existing home can be a stressful time and is one of the most expensive financial decisions you will be involved with. While most people want a smooth transaction with minimal stress, the reality of real estate transactions is that they can be time-consuming, stressful, and complex.

An added complexity is the changes in the market due to the pandemic that have led to bidding wars and very low levels of inventory in some areas. Whether you are a buyer or a seller you will want to be prepared for a seamless closing.

Here are the steps to take before buying or selling real estate. These steps will ensure you are prepared in advance to deal with the process of moving with less stress and more excitement.

Steps to Take Before Buying A Home

1.sMortgage Pre-approval

If you want to be steps ahead when buying a home, apply for preapproval for a mortgage before home shopping. This will not only make you more desirable to sellers as they will know you are prepared to make an appropriate offer, but it will also save you time when you find a home you are interested in. Having all your paperwork approved by the mortgage lender also means you have considered your finances and are in a position to move forward with funding as soon as you find the right house.

2. Offer

Once you find your dream house, you need to put in an offer. You will need to be careful when considering how much you want to offer. If you have secured the services of a real estate attorney, they will guide you and provide you with legal advice and make sure all the paperwork is completed.

3. Negotiation

Just because you have submitted an offer does not mean the seller will accept it. They may reject, accept, or counteroffer. Negotiations can be quick, or they can be lengthy, it all depends on what the parties to the transaction want.

4. Mortgage Approval

If your offer is accepted, you should contact your mortgage lender and ask them for mortgage approval. Remember, a mortgage pre-approval is not necessarily an approval, it simply means that you qualify for the loan. The full approval could take time so contact your lender as soon as you are ready to purchase your property. Your lender will want details of the property and may ask for additional documentation and information from you.

5. Inspection

When buying a home, you should always make sure you carry out a home inspection. Inspections are vital as they help you identify any issues with the property and can lead to further negotiations. It is likely that your mortgage lender will also require a home inspection and report.

6. Contingencies

When you have inspected the property and finalized the contract there may be a list of contingencies mentioned in the contract. If you are selling your home at the same time as buying the new home, the contract will list the sale of your existing home as a contingency. If you are buying in a competitive market then you should make sure you work with your attorney to understand all the contingencies in the contract and ensure you can meet them.

7. Insurance

Most mortgage companies will require that you put title insurance in place. Your attorney can advise you further about this and about completing a title search to identify any unpaid liens, outstanding mortgages, and easements/leases registered against the property.

8. Mortgage Closing

When all the contingencies have been met and your mortgage lender has completed their due diligence and finalized your offer, you can move to mortgage closing. During the mortgage closing, you will close on the mortgage and the property. Of course, if you are a cash buyer and not using any mortgage funds, then you will only close on the property.

9. Deeds

When you have closed on the property you will receive the deed to the property. This documents your legal ownership.

10. Filing

Once you have purchased the property, your documents will need to be filed. If you choose to hire a real estate attorney, that professional will be able to assist you.

Steps to Take Before Selling A Home

1. Preparing for Sale – Listing

The initial step when selling a property is to gather all the information about the property, carry out any immediate repairs you want to resolve, and get the property listed for sale. Many homeowners will want to ensure that their property is as marketable as possible, so if there are any obvious issues of repair, get these attended to as they could help you maximize the value of your real estate.

2. Hire An Attorney

Secure the services of a real estate attorney. This is a helpful step as your attorney will provide you with advice about the transaction, and handle the preparation and negotiation of the contract for sale. Your attorney will also guide you through the disclosures you need to make when selling your property.

3. Offers

This is an exciting time. When the offers come in, it is important that you consider them carefully. Most states require that the offer takes the form of a sale contract. In such cases, you should review the contract carefully and ask your attorney to take you through the terms and contingencies listed within it.

4. Allow the Home Inspection

It is very likely that buyers will want to inspect the property and have a report written detailing any issues or problems. Also, be prepared for a mortgage lender to appraise and approve the property if the buyer is obtaining a mortgage to purchase the property.

5. Finalizing the Contract

Your attorney can prepare the contract and ensure that your best interests are protected. It is likely that the buyer’s attorney will make some amends to the contract, and it is the job of your attorney to finalize the drafting of the contract and ensure it is agreed, and correctly signed by all the relevant parties.

6. Closing

Once all the inspections have taken place and the contracts are agreed, then your attorney will schedule the real estate closing. Your attorney will not only finalize the contract documentation, they will also calculate the amounts owing at the time of closing, and prepare the transfer documentation.

How An Attorney Can Help

It is a good idea to hire an attorney early on in your real estate transaction. Your attorney will not only guide and support you through the process, but they will also ensure that the decisions you make are in your best interests.

A real estate attorney specializes in real estate transactions. This means that they are familiar with all the aspects relating to home purchasing and selling. A good attorney will review all the documentation for you, identify any risks, provide you with solutions to problems, and deal with all the formalities of closing.

In fact, attorneys play a central role in drafting and negotiating the purchase or sale contract. If you are dealing with a property that requires complex drafting, then your attorney will ensure the contract reflects the deal that has been agreed.

Of course, one of the main benefits of securing the services of a real estate attorney early in the buying and selling process is that they can also help with all the title investigations that may be required.

Hire a Real Estate Attorney Now

Our experienced attorneys will not only help, advise, and guide you through the legal processes, but they will also assist you with preparing all the documents you need.

Call our experienced attorneys today on (561) 207-2018 for a free and confidential consultation. Alternatively, email us at