Buying a new home is exciting and fun and stressful all at once. As a buyer or seller you need to control all of the aspects of the process that you can. An experienced, knowledgeable real estate lawyer is an invaluable asset who will control the legal paperwork that is necessary for the closing.
Sometimes a buyer or seller will say that their cousin went to law school for a year, and maybe they could handle the necessary paperwork. I generally discourage this kind of approach. I hear unhappy stories frequently about closings being derailed at the last minute. A good real estate lawyer will help you avoid a situation like this.
Hiring a real estate attorney when needed is a smart choice. Their job is to make your transaction come together in a peaceful manner that is fair to both sides. A real estate attorney takes over after the selling price and terms have been established by the realtors in the contract and all parties have signed. He will review the contract itself, and collaborate with the title company. He will also be with you at closing.
An attorney is especially important if you are involved in a short sale, or the home is in probate or foreclosure. These or any transaction that is particularly complicated – like if the seller is helping the buyer to get financing – is less stressful with a lawyer in control.