Do I need an attorney to buy a home in PA?

Another common question that that is asked by home buyers is whether or not you need an attorney when buying a home in Pennsylvania.  There are many states that require an attorney and sometimes, it is just common practice.  In Pennsylvania, we are special:  we are one of only 5 commonwealth’s in the country, our local and school taxes have the most bizarre billing and payment schedules, and we have some crazy stupid laws. But do you need an attorney?

The simple answer is no, it is not a requirement.  However, if you feel more comfortable using an attorney, I have one suggestion, scratch that, one demand!  PLEASE, use a REAL ESTATE attorney!  Over 18 years in this business, I have had many pleasurable transactions with knowledgeable attorneys who specialize in real estate transactions.  However, I have also had my fair share of attorney’s that have NO clue what they are doing.

On one such occasion, my client, the seller of a property, was going through a divorce.  Luckily, we had traveled through most of the transaction alone, but she wanted her divorce attorney to attend the closing with her.  No problem, or so I thought.  When I arrived at the settlement table, her attorney asked to speak to me in private, outside of the office.  He grabbed the paperwork from the title company that the seller needs to sign at closing and we met in another private office.  He then asked me, “Can you explain these documents to me?”.  I was flabbergasted! This man was charging my client $500 for the hour to represent her in a deal that was all but done and now he wants me to EXPLAIN what these papers were?  Obviously, not a real estate attorney!

So please, if you are going to have an attorney represent you for your real estate transaction, make sure they know real estate.  If you would like me to refer you to some good ones to interview, just contact me.

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