Dave is a RE attorney, RE investor, and landlord who has handled hundreds of closings in both NJ & PA. Dave does not inflate or hide his fees. Dave tries to work WITH realtors, not at odds with them.
Get to know David G. Christoffersen, Esq.
Some real estate attorneys quote deceptively low fees neglecting to mention that they don't plan to act as the settlement agent and that title companies charge buyers $300+ on top of the attorney's fee to do so. See my website (http://www.christoffersenlaw.com) to learn more about that. The fees I quote are for ME to do the legal work -- not the title company. When I sometimes ask a title company to act as settlement agent, their $300+ fee comes out of MY pocket, not out of the buyer's pocket, because it is for MY convenience, not the buyer's. I also do not charge buyers a separate fee for "faxes, phone calls & photocopies," or to "review title binder," or to hold buyer's deposits in trust, or to write checks at closing, nor do I tack on a premium to the cost to record the deed, mortgage or releases. I have handled hundreds of real estate closings in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. I do my best to work WITH realtors and the other real estate professionals in the transaction. I appreciate that realtors want to be kept in the loop and do not want good deals killed. Not just a real estate attorney, I bring a real estate investor's and landlord's perspective to the transaction.
First-time real estate investors will benefit greatly from my experience as an investor and landlord. Client-landlords can benefit from my very landlord-friendly lease agreement that I use for my own investment properties, and I have become adept at removing problem tenants (for myself as well as for landlord-clients) sooner rather than later in spite of New Jersey's tenant-friendly, landlord-unfriendly laws.
If you are buying a house, either to live in or as an investment, you need someone in your corner who understands the law, who is permitted by law to give legal advice, and who can and will keep everything you say confidential.
State law forbids the "unauthorized practice of law." Your realtor, therefore, may not give legal advice. Similarly, a title company may not and will not give legal advice.
If your realtor is acting as "dual agent," then s/he is acting in the interests of both sides, and s/he is allowed to repeat to the other side anything you say.
You need an experienced real estate attorney in your corner. An experienced attorney understands the law, is authorized by law to give legal advice, and is constrained by the ethics of the profession to keep what you say in the strictest confidence.
An example why this is important: What happens if your private inspection report uncovers a structural, environmental or pest problem? Do the issues cited in the report allow you to terminate the contract? Maybe yes. Maybe no. If they do not, and if you back out of the deal, then you will be in breach of contract. You may end up forfeiting your deposits. You may end up being liable for other damages as well. Neither your realtor nor your title company can advise you. An experienced real estate attorney can.