We are first time buyers in PA. Should we engage a real estate agent or an attorney? Will an attorney help draft an offer, provide escrow service (for earnest & down payments) and other services required for closing? Is there any way we can avoid paying 3% to allow someone the chance to sell us a house? Instead, we would like the seller to keep the 3% commission for the buyers agent.
Real Estate Attorney
These professionals are supposed to serve different purposes. Frankly it sounds like you barely have the money to make a deal and are trying to save some. By throwing an attorney at the situation you may be able to by-pass some of the commission issues, but the attorney may not know the market as an agent would, and the agent might be able to help you cut a deal that would save the commission and more. Penny wise?
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Landlord / Tenant Lawyer
That depends upon whether you have found a house and a few other facts. If you are looking at houses on the multiple listing service, you need to find an agent to find and show you houses. However, if you have found the house you want without an agent, it makes sense to hire a lawyer. Although the agent will not charge for preparing the agreement, he or she will expect to receive a commission.
However, bear in mind that an agent doesn't get paid unless the house sells, which is why they are generally paid by the seller. A buyer's agent should be just for you and counsel against buying a property that has problems.
Clifford L Tuttle, Jr
Attorney at Law