“First, we kill all the lawyers.” – William Shakespeare
My client didn’t say it, but it’s a sentiment my client might have identified with after a lawyer’s oversight nearly cost him…
He’d offered on a beautiful country property. There was just one hitch; the seller refused to promise there were no encroachments and would not promise that the land would conform to local zoning. Red flag. And I’d discovered there was no survey in my research.
“You’ll definitely want a survey,” I told him, “Otherwise you’ll be S. O. L. if there are issues down the road.” I recommended he require a survey through the lawyer.
“Got it. Will do.” He said.
Possession date was scheduled to fall after a long weekend. The Friday morning before the long weekend, my client called me in a panic.
“Jeff! I just found out the lawyer never ordered the survey!! We’re closing on Tuesday and I need a survey NOW!!”
You’ve got to be kidding me. It really steams my clams when people don’t serve their clients like they’re supposed to. “I’ll see what I can do.” I got on the phone, calling, searching for some available surveyor somewhere who would take on a last minute job before a long weekend. I looked and hunted like a desperate, starving leopard prowling for an impala.
Finally I found one.
“My wife is gonna kill me,” the surveyor said, “we’re going to the lake today.” I crossed my fingers in the pause, “Yeah, okay. I’d do it. … I’d have to triple my fee though.”
My client happily paid triple the fee to save his own legal hiney, and the surveyor got the job done before closing that day. Phew!
Buying or selling a house is much more complicated than just hiring a REALTOR®.
Every transaction (unless you’re buying outright with cash, I suppose), will involve these professionals at some point:
The funny thing most people don’t realize: every one of these professionals is hand-picked by YOU. This is YOUR team. … or at least it should be. The more diligent, proactive people give a bit of attention to choosing their real estate agent by conducting interviews and really assessing their choices (you know, instead of hiring Uncle Jake or the guy Grandma has used for years out of little more than vicarious loyalty). Some will even interview lenders or mortgage brokers.
Even that diligent road stops short of protecting homeowners from financial loss and legal liability.
How to Choose Your Team:
The basic formula is similar for each type of professional:
* Check their credentials, including a google search of online reviews
* Ask their previous clients about their experience
* Make sure they specialize in the exact type of property and transaction you’re seeking.
(Don’t go hiring a Corporate Law lawyer for your condo purchase, for example. You’ll be sorry…!)
I’ve written about each of these in more detail below:
Effectively choosing a real estate agent.
What to look for in a Buyer’s agent (Yes, having an agent on your side when you’re house hunting is a thing. They keep you protected, get you the inside track on the places you’re looking at, and, as a bonus, it doesn’t cost you a thing!)
How to choose a property inspector. (Did you know pretty much anyone can call themselves a home inspector??)
Mortgage Brokers – They have the power to mess up your transaction in a big way. How to protect yourself.
How to choose a lawyer that won’t accidentally mess up your deal
Choosing a team of professionals might feel daunting or seem as pleasant as a root canal, but you’re going to have to work with them at some point… they might as well be hand-picked by you, right?