Five tips to reduce attorney liability in residential real estate transactions

Real estate transactions can be fraught with tension and stress for both buyer and seller. So as the representing attorney for either party, this is where you really earn your salary — by making sure all i's are dotted, and all t's are crossed. Because until the final agreement is signed, there is no deal. And if there is an error or holdup due to an inaccurate legal agreement, you could be held liable.

Five tips to keep in mind for every transaction:

  1. Proofread – Don't overly rely on forms — be sure to proofread contract language to eliminate vague language.
  2. Double check details – Double- and triple-check all details — and make sure your employees focus on details.
  3. Require transparency – Require full disclosure of all elements of transactions. Do not proceed with transactions if the settlement statement doesn't include the true value of the home.
  4. Zip it – Do not answer questions for the party you do not represent. Refer them to their own attorney.
  5. Escrow management – Use the title company for escrow. If you must hold funds, never let the balance fall below the full amount held and make sure you can release funds if consent is unreasonably withheld.