“I’m not going to hire a real estate lawyer because they’re too expensive.” “I don’t really need an attorney, I’m sure I can figure this out on my own.”
We all love saving money, and for many people it seems counter-intuitive that a real estate lawyer could actually save them money, instead of just costing them. But for legal matters relating to your home (likely your most valuable investment!) the cost of a good lawyer is a drop in the bucket compared to what you’ll pay in legal mistakes.
“A large portion of my business is helping solve problems that could have been avoided had the client come to me from the start, when they first made the contract they’re now disputing,” says attorney Merideth Nagel. “We could have avoided the problem from the beginning, but now an avoidable problem has turned into a $25,000 litigation.”
Not convinced? Here are three specific ways hiring a real estate attorney can save you money and protect your valuable investment.
Contract Review: Ensuring Your Interests are Protected
Who is making sure all your technical questions are answered and that your overall interests are represented in fine print? A real estate attorney is integral to this process and can provide overall peace of mind while you’re wading through mortgage agreements and paperwork. These agreements are extremely complicated. Without an attorney, there’s always a risk you’ll make a mistake which could end up costing you thousands of dollars later, and by then you’ll definitely need to call a lawyer anyway.
Title Protection: Making Sure You Actually Own What You’re Buying or Selling
A real estate attorney’s main goal is to prevent expensive problems for their client’s future. An attorney can guarantee that the home you’re purchasing or selling has clean title, and protect you from situations when a previous owner comes out of the woodwork with claim to the property. They can also navigate zoning issues, as well as any legal restrictions imposed by a prior owner that may hinder your ability to buy/sell.
Closing Costs: Successfully Navigating Fees and Tax
Your real estate lawyer knows the ins and outs closings, and will be able to make sure you get a good deal on your closing costs. Additionally your lawyer can help avoid the extraneous fees title companies often charge. “Typically,” says Nagel, “we can save the clients hundreds in closing costs all while providing you peace of mind through the entire closing process.”
“I would encourage people, when embarking on the journey of buying or selling a property, to go see a lawyer. That lawyer of course does not have to be me – only a lawyer experienced in real estate matters,” says Nagel.
At the end of the day, hiring a real estate lawyer gives you peace of mind that all legal issues surrounding your property will be handled efficiently and most importantly, correctly. You want to ensure that you’re protected from fraud, loopholes, and from simple negligence. The decision is ultimately up to you!
With the current government shutdown threatening to become the longest in U.S history, we’re beginning to see disruptive consequences for lenders, homebuyers, attorneys and title companies.
“With each day the shutdown continues, we can expect an increase in the impacts on potential homeowners, home sellers and the entire housing market.” says the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “A protracted shutdown could see a decline in home sales, reversing the trend toward a strengthening market that we’ve been experiencing.”
Why is the shutdown potentially causing problems for the housing market? Specifically, it has to do with delays in essential paperwork. It’s been reported that during the shutdown only 12% of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees are still on the job, and they are limited in their power to process transcript requests crucial to lenders and homebuyers.
The shutdown is causing similar issues for title companies trying to obtain lien payoff information from the IRS. With IRS employees limited or unable to do their jobs under the shutdown, a backlog of essential requests from title companies are piling up. Bill Burding NTP, executive vice president and general counsel for Orange Coast Title Co., described this as a “big problem” for the industry as deals are either being delayed or cancelled.
Nick Hacker, president/ and CEO of North Dakota Guaranty & Title, said one underwriter his company works with has advised against closing deals involving IRS liens. The company is also holding some seller proceeds until the payoffs are confirmed in order to continue closing transactions.
Flexibility and planning will be required to overcome these hurdles, as well as individual companies committed to handling these concerns with care and integrity for the consumer.
Merideth Nagel’s passion for practicing law began when she saw firsthand how her uncle, the late Senator Richard Langley, made a positive and tangible difference in people’s lives through his work as a lawyer. “My mother was a working mom, and growing up my after school care was working in Uncle Dick’s law office. I would empty the trash cans, I would do filing.” says Nagel. “Over those years I saw countless people coming in with a legal problem and Langley could solve it, or an important question that he would be able to answer. I thought to myself, ‘This is what I want to do. I want to be able to really help people as they go through difficult times.’ It all started because I started emptying the trash cans in my uncle’s law office.”
After graduating from law school with honors in 1996, Nagel begin working with Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente, often staying up late into the night to keep up with the workload. “Pariente taught me so much about how to understand the law, and more importantly its impact on people. Law is not just an esoteric force, it impacts every single person over the course of their lives.” says Nagel. “In that way she reiterated why I originally wanted to be a lawyer. She was teaching me that our work is bigger than the law, it’s about how the law can change people’s lives.”
After gaining experience and expertise working with big name clients like Boston Market, Firestone Tires, and McDonalds as an attorney at the international law firm Holland & Knight, Nagel knew she needed to go back to her roots in Clermont. “When I started my own firm in 2005, I knew I wanted to work locally and build up our community. Instead of having Boston Market as a client, I had smaller mom and pop businesses.” says Nagel. “I love it, because I can fight for my clients’ legal needs but also be there for them on a personal level. I can walk alongside them and support them during their difficult time. This is what brings me the most joy and happiness: bringing that human element, being there for the local client.”
In 2010, Ms. Nagel’s passion for law came full circle as her original mentor, Senator Richard Langley, joined her own law firm after he had retired his own practice. “He worked with me until he passed away. There’s several times a week I think about Dick Langley, and what Dick Langley would do.” confides Nagel. Since 2005, Nagel and the staff at Merideth Nagel P.A. have been guided by the famous words of Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world.” Nagel runs her business dedicated to the belief that through hard work and caring for people, she can change the world, one client at a time.
I have worked with Ms. Merideth Nagel PA and staff for many years now and I can sincerely say that they are the most efficient title company I have ever worked with. The legal department is also amazing!!! These people get things done professionally and efficiently. Thank you Ms. Nagel, Susan, Joni, Ashley, Tina, and the rest of the staff!!!
Fantastic job. It was a long road we traveled down with family members all believing they were right. Between Merideth Nagel and our mediator Rick Joyce we came to a most agreeable conclusion to a long emotionally draining experience.
Thank you all for an outstanding job and the patience and knowledge to make the right call.