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Thread: Pros and cons of using a home builder's lawyer to close?

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    Default Pros and cons of using a home builder's lawyer to close?

    Possession date has been set for about a month from now for my build. The builder has their own legal team to take care of the closing documents.

    Anything I should be aware of if I decide to use their service? Its no additional cost to me but it specifically says in the info document that they are not representing me...

    Any info would be great!


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    Pros: its free

    Cons: Loyalty follows the money

    Might as well sign with a handshake if you trust the builder so much
    Originally posted by Thales of Miletus

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    If you are comfortable NOT using a lawyer, then use theirs.
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    Is it their lawyer or one they just pick from a short list they refer customers to?

    There is a difference, but honestly I dont like either scenario. For my first place I bought I was referred to a lawyer by someone I know, and the builder then referred that same lawyer...... so I decided to pick another lawyer lol.

    It also depends on the builder if it really matters. If its some big megacorp company pumping out 20000 condos a year, they will likely rather not sell to you than change anything in their contract. But hey, maybe it's big enough a problem that even though they wont change it you may not want to buy from them, so even then it could still make a diff using your own guy.

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    It's been a few years since I've been through the process but essentially you've already contractually committed yourself to anything and everything the builder wants, so spending money on your own lawyer that can't really do anything seems like a big waste of cash.
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    Originally posted by Masked Bandit
    It's been a few years since I've been through the process but essentially you've already contractually committed yourself to anything and everything the builder wants, so spending money on your own lawyer that can't really do anything seems like a big waste of cash.

    I'm with this. I used my builders lawyer and saw no benefit in using my own. If you have issues with the home before taking possession bring them up and if they aren't going to take care of it (in writing) then you bring that up with the lawyer. Advise you want to hold back money and if they refuse then find another laywer.

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    You're paying the fees one way or another for disbursements. The actual lawyer fees work out to peanuts (about $400 in my case from what i remember).

    Dealing with a builder's office is complete horseshit if anything goes wrong. I've had the developer hold up the land title transfer for 3 months because they fucked up signatures on the documents to the builder and didn't care about fixing it. Its good to not have to be at the complete mercy of their team 'not representing you' because imo they'll just stonewall you. They can't stonewall your lawyer as easily.

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    Ive used the builders lawyer on two occassions

    Pros: its free!

    Cons: you waive your right to representation but so what. It shouldnt matter if you are dealing with a large reputable builder. Small builder, imo i would definitely lawyer up just in case

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    I really see no reason to get your own lawyer. The house is built and it is what it is. The lawyer just makes it all legal with the paperwork.

    However, know that if there DOES end up being some sort of legal conflict between buyer and builder that the lawyer will always represent the builder and not you.

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    You would think after the dozens of threads about horror stories stemming from people building with "large reputable home builders" people would understand why having their own lawyer could be beneficial.

    I know when I bought my last home my lawyer provided an important service and had my builder by the balls when they pushed back on our requests to have issues resolved. Well worth the money spent.

    Originally posted by Thales of Miletus

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    Originally posted by killramos
    You would think after the dozens of threads about horror stories stemming from people building with "large reputable home builders" people would understand why having their own lawyer could be beneficial.

    I know when I bought my last home my lawyer provided an important service and had my builder by the balls when they pushed back on our requests to have issues resolved. Well worth the money spent.

    What do you think lawyers actually do on closing that cant be done by the builders lawyer? They release funds and transfer title and do next to nothing. Ive had an issue years afterwards that came up in a sale with a builder and when i went back to my lawyer to ask why the hell he missed this he plead ignorance.

    He also explained what he does and doesnt do. In the end they do very little at closing and shouldnt be relied upon for much other then holding back funds and transfering title.

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    I always thought it was just paper signing but we hired a lawyer for our last build and it turns out they actually read through the mounds of paperwork! They found a miscalculation and we ended up getting some $ back from the builder that we didn't catch when going through all the pages.

    If we went with builder's lawyer I'm guessing it would've just been a "sign here please x50" deal.

    On such a large transaction I'm surprised people just go with builder's lawyer. It's free for a reason.
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    Lol, do the people recommending that you get your own lawyer also think there's a difference between registering your car at one registry as opposed to any other in the city?

    The lawyer duties on any house transaction are similar to registering your car because there's only one right way to do it. It's going to be the same result no matter which lawyer you go with so you may as well go with the lowest cost.

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    the lawyer who missed something on my closing dismissed the fact he should have caught the problem. At that point id have to hire a different lawyer review the issue.. no different then if someone uses a builders lawyer on their closing if there was an issue.

    Nothing wrong with getting your own lawyer but that doesnt guarantee it will be mistake free. Perhaps talk to whatever lawyer youll hire to chat about what theyre actually handling for you and reviewing.

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    Originally posted by RedDawn
    Lol, do the people recommending that you get your own lawyer also think there's a difference between registering your car at one registry as opposed to any other in the city?

    The lawyer duties on any house transaction are similar to registering your car because there's only one right way to do it. It's going to be the same result no matter which lawyer you go with so you may as well go with the lowest cost.
    That's my thought process. If anything comes up to do with the legality of the contract, you are going to have to hire a lawyer anyways.

    It's two separate issues, one is taking care of documentation, the other is if there are actual legal issues.

    The second one requires you to get a lawyer regardless. So you might as well have them do the paperwork for free because it changes nothing.
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    I always double check the $$ on my own so I always used the builders lawyer.. asked my cousin who is a lawyer and they said to not waste my money on hiring my own
    GO FLAMES GO!

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    Originally posted by HiTempguy1


    That's my thought process. If anything comes up to do with the legality of the contract, you are going to have to hire a lawyer anyways.

    It's two separate issues, one is taking care of documentation, the other is if there are actual legal issues.

    The second one requires you to get a lawyer regardless. So you might as well have them do the paperwork for free because it changes nothing.
    ^this.

    The distinction between the two legal roles even have their own terms in the legal world:

    Transactional Lawyers - akin to a registry agent that performs complex registrations beyond the capabilities of your local registry. Transactional lawyers do not go to court in the event of a dispute. Their only responsibility is to execute legal documents. This is the type of lawyer involved with processing real estate closing documents.

    Litigation Lawyer - this is the guy you hire if there's a dispute over the contract and need representation in the courtroom. As stated already, he's an additional hire on top of your transactional lawyer.

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    Lots of problems get taken care of long before going to court.

    Take my issue with a place I bought; the developer fucked up the paperwork and fucked up fixing the paperwork between themselves and the builder which was holding up title transfer to myself. The developer also didn't care and was dragging their feet.

    Now builders have a clause that says you still take possession and pay them the interest on your mortgage as rent if the title can't be transferred. This is fine for most people as it delays the mortgage (it does become a issue with the bank if it drags on for months) and you get to live there for a discounted rate. It was bullshit for me as this was a flip I didn't need to live in and was costing me money, as well as holding up selling it.

    My lawyer dealt with that. A lawyer a builder recommends would have also, maybe more reluctantly however. A lawyer the builder had do the paperwork for you would not have, you'd be stuck dealing with it yourself.

    Getting that sorted out potentially covered my lawyer costs and then some.

    Saying there is no reason to use your own isn't exactly true.

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    It's a very rare situation where it would matter, but that's why you hire your own guy, for exactly those rare situations.
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    Originally posted by zhao

    Saying there is no reason to use your own isn't exactly true.
    It's two separate issues, one is taking care of documentation, the other is if there are actual legal issues.
    Sounds like you went from "documentation" to "legal issues". I don't think there is any reason to keep using the builders lawyer once shit goes south, even if you are in the documentation stage.

    What I am saying is that if everything is fine, yes, use the builders lawyer. Once that fails for whatever reason, then get your own.

    You are also in an incredibly unique situation compared to the vast majority of people. As you even mentioned, for most, the situation you were in is ideal as they get to live at a discounted cost. You can't equate business with personal finances, you of all people should know its not the same thing.
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