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Real estate attorney or a real estate agent?

Clifton Heights, PA |

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.

Attorney Answers 2


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?

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is currently licensed to practice law only in the State of Illinois. Responses are based solely on Illinois law unless stated otherwise.

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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
Pittsburgh, PA

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I have my Real Estate License in Florida, but I am no lawyer. If you want the seller to recieve more money, pay more for the property. However remember something is only worth as much as someone is willing, ready, and able to pay for it. The buyers agent only recieves the portion in which the selling agent decides to give. Generally it is 3%, but in Florida there is no law that it must be. The selling agent could decide to give 0% or 10% depending on how much or how little the commision % that they are recieving. If you want look for "FOR SALE BY OWNER" in your area then you don't have to pay any commission. However, remember you want professionals on your side. I say the best way to make sure the owner gets the 3% commission back (if that is what the selling agent has agreed to give up) is to get the license yourself and omit your commission in an addendum prior to the sale.

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