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Is it necessary to hire a lawyer for real estate closing?

 
fatcatG
(@fatcatG)
Active Member

Good Afternoon All,

I would appreciate your opinions. I am purchasing a property on St. Thomas and have been told the process is quite different than in the states, and that I should obtain a lawyer for closing. Over the years I've bought and sold approximately 8 properties in the states so I am somewhat familiar with the precess. I am working with a STT realtor and a mortgage broker and am contracting for all the appropriate inspections. Does anyone know what is so different about purchasing property in the US VI that would require obtaining a lawyer for the closing process? In your opinion is it a necessary extra expense?

Thanks in advance for your insight.

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Topic starter Posted : May 20, 2011 8:29 pm
Alexandra
(@Alexandra)
Trusted Member

Most property sales on the mainland are closed through Title & Escrow companies, who check the documents involved for accuracy as well as take pains to verify you are buying a property with clear title. The fee you would usually pay to the Escrow company is instead paid to an attorney in the islands to do essentially the same activities. It's not a legal requirement that you have an attorney represent you, but in some instances it's very, very wise.

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Posted : May 20, 2011 8:50 pm
roadrunner
(@roadrunner)
Trusted Member

My attorney paid for himself several times over when we ran into what could have been a major, expensive legal issue had it not been discovered and resolved prior to closing. Get an attorney!

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Posted : May 20, 2011 11:42 pm
Lizard
(@Lizard)
Trusted Member

The Title for the property might have some problems. Inspections for the physical property are not that big of a deal. Are you going to research the title for liens, encumbrances,easements, chain of ownership, zoning, record the Deed, and survey. If you don't get a lawyer at least get title insurance. Good Luck.*-)

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Posted : May 21, 2011 12:08 am
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Trusted Member Registered

If you had bought and sold approximately 8 {?} properties in the VI maybe -- but I doubt it. Getting the items Lizard mentioned and others by yourself is not easy off island and mildly complicated on island and a lawyer who does real estate transactions will make them all happen and give you the documentation and peace of mind.
Trying to sell the piece of property here that does not have all those documents in order will really require a lawyer in the future.

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Posted : May 21, 2011 4:53 am
islandlola
(@islandlola)
Trusted Member

<> <--Ditto.

I agree with roadrunner and others. In my opinion, even for an experienced stateside real estate professional or attorney, using a well-qualified VI real estate attorney is well worth the fee.

Best,

Islandlola

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Posted : May 21, 2011 3:46 pm
fatcatG
(@fatcatG)
Active Member

Thanks to all of you for the good advice. Greatly appreciated!

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Topic starter Posted : May 22, 2011 1:53 pm
hecate
(@hecate)
Active Member

I'm thinking -actually looking at buying a sm lot, unbuilt. I've not bought land before,I have inherited land and the process is scary. What all do I need 1)the reality co. 2) a mortgage broker 3) a land lawyer ...then since it's not built on do i need to contract for inspections as posted by someone earlier? When we built on land in Ga, we built it ourselves, applying for permits as needed. Without being on home turf it just sounds complicated. The Realtor contacts me again tomorrow. Any advise ???

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Posted : May 23, 2011 4:27 am
poorthang
(@poorthang)
Advanced Member

How stupid are you people!!!! If you don't know what you're doing hire a damn professional to help. And if you still think you know what your doing HIRE a professional.If your too cheap to spend a few hundred bucks ....to hire an adviser..." then you better assume the position" when things get all F'd up. Cheap ass!

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Posted : May 23, 2011 5:05 am
Linda J
(@Linda_J)
Expert

I wouldn't have phrased it quite that way, but I do have to agree -- plan on hiring professionals.

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Posted : May 23, 2011 9:19 am
Lizard
(@Lizard)
Trusted Member

hecate,
My suggestion is for you to get an attorney! With that said, buying a small building lot is not all that complicated! Your Realtor can save you a few dollars and time, the Realtor can find out if the utilities can be brought to the property without easements, what utilities are available to the property and at what cost. You can contract for a title search and survey yourself, you must have a current search and survey to obtain a mortgage. Vacant land is difficult at times to get a mortgage, your Realtor or mortgage broker can advise you on the current availability of funding. Your Realtor will be able to advise you on the zoning of the parcel and you can verify it yourself with a phone call, There are no inspections on the property because there is no improvements or buildings to inspect. You get a Building permit to build and Phased inspections begin during the construction period so you can obtain a certificate of occupancy. A Building Lot is a lot easier than a House on a purchase. Good Luck.

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Posted : May 23, 2011 11:42 am
hecate
(@hecate)
Active Member

Hello. Thx u Lizard, usefull advise always helps. Sometimes people getting $ to HELP will snow u the worst especially if its obvious u know nothing. I want to learn at least enough to not be ripped from the go. I've lived in another country and in the US Ft. Lauderdale, Buffalo, and Ft. Worth but when it comes to legal stuff all my dealings have been in a small rural town. Shall I clarify - I am by no way cheap if I need a pro - I'll pay for a pro and before a problem. Thx. I now have another brick of my foundation to start. Good Day to All

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Posted : May 23, 2011 12:30 pm
EngRMP
(@EngRMP)
Advanced Member

I was glad that I hired a lawyer for the purchase of land on STX. A paved road is partially on my land. The lawyer put in the proper wording such that I would not be held accountable for any road issues, accidents, etc.

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Posted : May 25, 2011 6:27 pm
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