Why Home Buyers and Sellers Should Consider a Legal Plan

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Why Home Buyers and Sellers Should Consider a Legal Plan

4 min read August 24, 2020

It’s no secret that buying or selling a home can be stressful. Between 30 and 40 percent of home buyers and sellers shed tears during the process, according to surveys by Homes.com and Zillow. But it doesn’t have to be quite so nerve-wracking.

It can be a better experience with the right attorney helping you navigate the transaction. What's more: Employer-provided legal plans can make finding an attorney—and paying for their services—easier. Here’s why having a legal plan through your employer might be a good idea:

Contracts can get complicated

You’ve finally found a buyer for your home, and the paperwork is ready to sign. Then, the buyer notices that the back porch steps are a bit wobbly and refuses to close until the steps are fixed. But extra repairs aren’t part of your original contract, so now you’re stuck...right?

Not exactly. The legal plan covers attorney services for these kinds of unforeseen complications that can threaten a successful close. He or she will be able to negotiate with the buyer's attorney and make modifications to your contract, while keeping your best interests in mind.

Lawyers can speak on your behalf

Think of your attorney as your spokesperson, who'll coordinate with the other party’s lawyer, broker, and real estate agent, so you don’t have to. Because your attorney knows what to say and how to word it, you don't have to worry about saying the wrong thing to the other party. And thanks to attorney-client privilege, conversations between you and your lawyer remain confidential.

Legal issues may come up

You’ve fallen in love with a home that has a gorgeous wraparound porch, but then you find out the house has several open permits and a lien that's unresolved. Suddenly, the road to your dream home becomes a never-ending trail of paperwork. Chances are, your lawyer has handled similar issues before and can perform a title search and request any open permits from the town to make sure your dream home won't end up being a liability.

Some home sales are more complex

Not all real estate transactions are straight-forward. For example, maybe you're buying a foreclosed property you want to renovate, or need to back out of a home contract, or buying land that's owned by a bank. These circumstances may feel intimidating, which is why you'll want an attorney to guide you, answer your questions, and make sure you're comfortable with your decisions.

There’s a lot of money involved

This is probably the biggest financial transaction you’ll ever make (no pressure). Between down payments, closing costs, and moving expenses, you'll want to find savings wherever you can. An employer-provided legal plan may cost less for the entire year than the typical rate for one hour of legal fees, which is around $370.1 For example, MetLife legal plans cost around $20 per month2, and the payments come right out of your paycheck, giving you one less thing to worry about.

Having a legal plan through your employer provides access to legal support at the start of your real estate journey, so you can enjoy taking your next step in life. Consider signing up for a legal plan through your employer during open enrollment. You can also take our quiz to see what other benefits could help you save money.

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1 Based on the average hourly rate of $370 based on years of legal experience, National Law Journal and ALM Legal Intelligence, Survey of law Firm Economics (2018).

2 Your cost may vary; see plan for details.