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Many unforeseen factors cause stress and anxiety when selling a home, even in a sellers’ market. Some of the things that keep sellers awake at night include the lack of control over time and money, having offers fall through, and buyers’ demands for improvements or contingencies. Most people rely on real estate agents to guide them through the process, but there are things that are better left to the expertise of a residential real estate attorney.

Residential real estate lawyers can help sellers with the known parts of the process, such as drafting and negotiating the sale contract and preparing the deed, but there are other surprises that can come up during the sale of a house that make having a real estate attorney extremely beneficial to a seller. Here are seven examples:

Protecting the Seller’s Interests

When an issue arises that threatens the sale of the home, a lawyer can act on behalf of the seller whereas the real estate agent may not. The agent may be focused on getting the sale through to earn a commission rather than on what is fair and equitable for the seller.

Handling Disputes Involving Documentation

When issues like quitclaim deeds and property liens arise, attorneys are needed to solve them. A unique situation that arises in New York City is that unpaid water bills are applied to real estate taxes. Sellers will need a lawyer to provide meter readings to show buyers that there are no outstanding charges and to make sure that sellers are not paying more than is owed. Selling a property that shares a driveway or other access with an adjoining property will also require an attorney to define each owners’ legal access.

Resolving Liability for Repairs

If an issue arises after the inspection, a residential real estate attorney will be needed to determine who is responsible to pay for repairs.

Sorting Through the Circumstances of Inherited Properties

When a deceased person’s name is on the deed to the property, it can cause unforeseen problems that a lawyer will know how to navigate.

Navigating the Short Sale or Foreclosure Processes

A residential real estate lawyer can work with the seller’s lender in order to handle these problems.

Mediating Situations When There Are Multiple Sellers

Sometimes a sale can go poorly when several different family members are benefitting from the sale of the property. An attorney can make equitable and legally binding arrangements for everyone who will receive money from the sale of the house.

Completing Sales Involving Out-of-Town or Out-of-State Buyers

Residential real estate lawyers can find notaries, lenders, and other real estate agents who can help a remote buyer complete paperwork.


When you need the services of an experienced residential real estate attorney, contact Warren S. Dank, Esq., P.C. for guidance with all types of real estate transactions.