One question realtors and real estate attorneys alike frequently hear is whether the services of a lawyer are truly necessary for closing the sale of the home. The answer depends largely on the location and circumstances of the sale.

In general, there are some questions you can ask yourself before selling or buying a home. The answers will inform your need for an attorney.

Questions for people selling a home

If you answer yes to any of the below questions, the services of a real estate attorney could be beneficial for your sale:

  • Is your property in some form of financial distress?
  • Are you the heir or executor for the property of a deceased owner?
  • Do you have any judgments or liens in your background?
  • Do you own the home in joint tenancy with an owning partner who is unwilling to cooperate?
  • Do you have an instinct that something could go wrong with the sale for any reason, whether it is related to the property or some other aspect of the sale?

Questions for people buying a home

If you answer yes to any of the below questions, the services of a real estate attorney could be beneficial for your home purchase:

  • Are you purchasing a home in a city far away from where you currently live?
  • Are you purchasing a bank-owned property or one being sold via a short sale?
  • Are you purchasing property that is being sold as part of an estate sale?
  • Are you purchasing commercial property for your business?
  • Are you purchasing property that potentially has structural weaknesses or other similar problems?
  • Are you purchasing a property in a flood zone, a tornado-prone area, a property with high radon or toxicity levels or a property in any other type of problematic area?

If the above questions do not apply to you, you’ll likely be able to work only with your realtor. Realtors understand the contracts used in your area. It is the purchases and sales that have complicating factors that require the assistance of an experienced attorney.

Real estate lawyers understand many nuances of the industry that go far beyond general contract law. They are also better able to negotiate fair transactions in these more complicated circumstances, seeking the best deal for you.

For more information on the processes associated with buying or selling a home in the U.S. Virgin Islands, speak with an experienced real estate attorney.

J. Nash Davis is an associate attorney at BoltNagi PC in the Real Estate and Financial Services Practice Group.