Ask a Realtor: Is an attorney really necessary? And other questions that arise with a home purchase (column) |

Ask a Realtor: Is an attorney really necessary? And other questions that arise with a home purchase (column)

Joan Harned
Ask a Realtor
Joan Harned Ask a Realtor

Dear Joan: We are very excited that we finally have a home under contract in today’s market. This is not our first purchase, but it has been a while, and it seems that everything has changed: All the forms, all the deadlines and all the terminology. It just seems that there is a lot more to wade through.

Our Realtor has suggested that we have an attorney look at everything, but we hate to pay for an attorney to look at what, we are told, are standard Colorado real estate forms. Our Realtor has emailed us a “calendar” of all of our “dates,” which appear to us to be abbreviations of something. We have received the title commitment but have no clue as to what we could or would object to on that.

Our Realtor keeps asking us if we have any questions, but we are not even sure what to ask. Do we need to hire an attorney? We fear that will cost a fortune, and then we still won’t understand it. What do you suggest?

— Buyer

Dear Buyer: Do not feel alone about learning, what appears to be, a new language in a few weeks’ crash course. Yes, we always recommend you seek legal and tax counsel, as none of us are experts.

We all have been trained on all of the Colorado forms and contracts, and we can easily explain the language and the dates. Most of us try to go over the calendar, explaining what needs to be done before each date arrives and then reminding you again just prior to the date. This is very important since your earnest money usually is at risk of being forfeited if you need to get out of the contract after your last contingency date has passed.

Your Realtor can go through the title commitment, pointing out the various sections to look at: 1) the property legal description, 2) the requirements the title company is asking for to be able to do the closing and then 3) the exceptions (items the title company is not insuring against but that will still apply to the property.

Your Realtor can usually refer you to a reputable attorney who will review these items for a reasonable fee. Make sure you sit down with your Realtor to get any and all inspections lined up with professionals in plenty of time so that you know if you have any objections a few days ahead of your objection deadline.

Planning ahead on reviewing all due-diligence documents and making sure you get a reasonable insurance quote are all part of your very important homework to be done also. If you are getting a loan, then you and your Realtor need to make sure the lender is meeting any and all deadlines in the contract for your application, the appraisal and your loan approval (which is called loan objection, as you need to object in writing to qualify to receiver your earnest money back).

Please sit down with your Realtor to go over everything you feel the least bit unsure about. You are going to feel better immediately once you understand and have good professional counsel. All the best to you.

Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at, 970-337-7777 or

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