Summary: Hire a construction lawyer when building a new house. Hire a real estate lawyer for other real estate transactions
Carl, I am going to contract with a builder to build my house. This is first time I have ever built a house, and I have no idea what do as far as dealing with my General Contractor.
Before I sign his contract, please to tell me what I should do. I don't want to make a mistake. Jim
Jim, do not, I repeat, do not sign any contract with your home builder or General Contractor without getting advice from a competent real estate attorney or construction attorney. Legal issues can and do arise.
Construction law covers legal issues and disputes arising from home building and deals with all legal issues relating to the new home construction process from land acquisition and chain of (land) title, title insurance, to construction financing, to contractor liens and any post-construction claims settlement.
I recommend the use of a real estate lawyer or a construction lawyer to any private individual, home owner, or new home buyer mainly to make sure the contract is not only properly drawn, but is properly executed as well. The lawyer may or may not be involved in the actual building contract negotiations.
It is important that the real estate lawyer or construction lawyer you hire be familiar with local rules, laws and ordinances as they can have an enormous impact on how smoothly your project flows.
If you decide to hire a lawyer, you'll want one well versed in real estate and construction law and the peculiarities of both specialties.
Many states have web sites where you can look to see that the real estate lawyer or construction lawyer you are considering is both licensed and in good standing.
Word of mouth can be the best recommendation to find a real estate lawyer or construction lawyer.
If a friend or relative has been well served and satisfied with a real estate lawyer, the chances are you will be also.
You can also find one through a local Realtor or local title insurance company.
The money spent will be well worth it.
Good luck, Carl Heldmann