This is the first post in a series of articles discussing the importance of legal counsel in commercial real estate or investment real estate transactions in Olympia or Tacoma, Washington. The goal of this series is to explain the role an attorney will play throughout the process of selling, purchasing or leasing real property. Depending upon the complexity and size of the transaction, issues may arise in the course of the process that a party may not be aware of or know how to handle. An attorney is a key part of any real estate investment team. Real estate attorneys are trained to identify the important issues and can help you minimize or avoid potential liabilities. If you need assistance with a real property transaction, contact my office today.
This series will address several key subjects, including:
- The role of counsel in the due diligence process
- An attorney’s review of environmental issues
- Negotiating complex purchase, sale, or lease documents
- Dealing with third parties in a real estate transaction
- Facilitating the closing of a property sale
Due diligence is the process by which a buyer or lessee identifies information about a property before closing to avoid nasty surprises later on. It is helpful to utilize an attorney during this process because they can help you to identify whether there are potential problems that should be resolved before closing. It is important to involve an attorney are in the process for many reasons. First, attorneys can assist in determining a buyer’s exposure to past and current environmental issues on the property. This is important because the innocence of the owner is often not a defense to the obligation to clean-up contaminated property, and insurance and other sources of funds often do not cover this kind of clean up. Second, real estate transactions can involve elaborate contracts and other confusing documents. Attorneys can review the documents to determine which terms are innocent and which provisions are “snakes in the grass” that must be revised. Third, if the sale involves commercial property or investment property, the deal may involve third parties, such as banks or other creditors who hold mortgages or liens on the property, or wholesalers, deal finders, or brokers. Third-party involvement increases the complexity of the deal which increases the need to include an attorney in the transaction. Fourth, a knowledgeable real estate attorney can also help you navigate the dozens, or even hundreds, of legal documents and paperwork required for a successful closing. Finally, there are third party consents, such as lender approval, that are required prior to a successful closing. Failure to obtain these consents can not only delay a transaction, but could result in the buyer taking on unexpected and costly obligations without knowing it. Counsel can assist with identifying when such consents are necessary and help avoid complications.
My Olympia firm has experience in complex commercial real estate transactions. If you are contemplating buying, selling or leasing commercial property, contact me today to speak with an attorney. The firm also services the Thurston County cities of Lacey, Tumwater, and Yelm, the Pierce County cities of Tacoma, Puyallup, and Lakewood, the Lewis County cities of Centralia, and Chehalis, the King County cities of Seattle, Auburn, Bellevue, Burien, and Federal Way, as well as other areas in Washington, including Grays Harbor, Mason, Cowlitz, and Pacific Counties.