Johnson County Abstract Company
Phone:  (618) 658-3721
Fax:  (618) 658-9287

Once the seller and buyer of a home have agreed on the sale price, hiring an attorney to assist you in
the labyrinth that follows is critical to ensure a smooth transition between the two parties, according to
Peter J. Birnbaum, president and CEO, Attorneys' Title Guaranty Fund, Inc. (ATG).

"The best way to ensure not only a smooth transaction but to receive valuable advice beginning with
the contract negotiations, is to hire a real estate attorney," he said. "The purchase of a home is the
most important investment most people make. It is important that nothing be left to chance.

Though a lawyer's expertise is needed at virtually every stage of the home-buying process, it is
particularly crucial at the closing, Birnbaum continued. "The attorney will explain each document to the
consumer, review the closing statement and tell the buyer exactly where the money is going, as well
as negotiate any last-minute situations or requests," he said.

"Unfortunately, most buyers and sellers don't read the fine print, and even if they did, it may be difficult
for a non-lawyer to understand some of the terminology," he said. The attorney will check for
mathematical and substantive errors on the loan documents, ensure the interest rate is correct, and
provide the attention to detail that is so necessary for a successful transfer, Birnbaum continued. He
noted the two common problems that can arise are a delay in the closing and a problem with the loan
documents. "Rather than delay the closing due to one party's unavailability, an attorney will help find
solutions that can resolve the problem and get the closing back on track," he said.