5 Reasons You Might Need a Lawyer’s Help When Buying a Vacation Home

5 Reasons You Might Need a Lawyer’s Help When Buying a Vacation Home

There are all kinds of times when you might need a lawyer’s help. At different points, you may want to enlist a lawyer’s aid in drafting a will, forming an LLC, or if you’ve been in a car accident.

However, if you’re thinking about buying a vacation home, that might be a time when you’ll want a lawyer on your side as well. Here are a few reasons why vacation home purchases might be a bit more complicated than you may have been expecting.

Lack of Disclosure

One of the reasons you might want to enlist a respected lawyer’s help when you’re buying a vacation home is if you feel like the seller might be trying to conceal things about the property. You may feel like it’s a simple enough matter just to get a home inspector to look over the property to relieve your concerns.

However, while vacation home property inspection is always a smart idea before you buy, a lawyer can also add contract language stipulating that the seller must inform you of any unsound property conditions. That serves as extra protection in case something slips by the inspector.

Financing or Deposit Issues

When buying a vacation home, you might rely on a financing structure. If you’re going that route, you may want to have a lawyer on your side who can explain in simple language what you’re going to owe and when. They might be able to frame it more simply and effectively than a realtor could.

You’re also going to put down a deposit at some point, and you don’t want to be in any danger of losing it because you didn’t fully understand the requirements from that point forward. A lawyer can explain your vacation home’s sale process to you, again using terminology that a layperson can comprehend.

You might want them to put a stipulation in the contract stating that if you’re unable to obtain financing, you get your deposit refunded.

They Can Hold Your Deposit

You also might want a lawyer when you’re buying a vacation home because they can hold your deposit until you need it. Lawyers can act as escrow agents if you assign them that duty.

A third party holding the earnest money for a pending sale might not be the best idea if negotiations suddenly turn hostile. A lawyer works for you and is legally bound to represent your best interests.

In case of a problem, you can rest more easily knowing that your earnest money is in the hands of someone who is squarely on your side.

Trust and Probate Administration

If you’re buying vacation property from someone who owns it free and clear, then things should be relatively easy and straightforward. Sometimes, though, you might feel an attraction to a property that is part of a probate administration, or a trust.

There’s nothing to say that you can’t try to buy such a property, but it’s going to be a bit more complicated for you than you might anticipate. You’ll certainly want a highly-skilled lawyer working for you in either of those instances.

There will be a personal representative or a trustee representing the heirs, creditors, or beneficiaries. Your lawyer can help you navigate the potentially thorny realms of the probate court and trust law.

Bank-Owned Properties, Short Sales, and Foreclosures

You might be set on buying a vacation property that is bank-owned, is a foreclosure, or is set up for a short sale transaction. Any of these involves special conditions, and once again, it’s going to be challenging to go through all those hurdles on your own.

If you can find a lawyer with foreclosure experience, that will benefit you quite a bit in these spots. You can review the title work with them and negotiate with the bank from a knowledgeable position. Going into these situations without a lawyer might prove baffling and frustrating to someone who isn’t an expert in these matters.

There are several other potential reasons why a lawyer might be the better choice than a real estate agent when you’re trying to buy a vacation home. Maybe you have lost trust in your real estate company. Perhaps you’re an out-of-town buyer, and you want someone local who knows the market.

Retaining a lawyer means that you have an expert on your side. Just be sure that you find one that has excellent feedback and is within your price range.


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