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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 may 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 may be able to 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 help make you more 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.
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.
Group legal plans provided by MetLife Legal Plans, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. In certain states, group legal plans are provided by Metropolitan General Insurance Company, Warwick, RI.
Some services not available in all states. No service, including consultations, will be provided for: 1) employment-related matters, including company or statutory benefits; 2) matters involving the employer, MetLife and affiliates and plan attorneys; 3) matters in which there is a conflict of interest between the employee and spouse or dependents in which case services are excluded for the spouse and dependents; 4) appeals and class actions; 5) farm and business matters, including rental issues when the participant is the landlord; 6) patent, trademark and copyright matters; 7) costs and fines; 8) frivolous or unethical matters; 9) matters for which an attorney client relationship exists prior to the participant becoming eligible for plan benefits. For all other personal legal matters, an advice and consultation benefit is provided. Additional representation is also included for certain matters. Please see your plan description for details. MetLife® is a registered trademark of MetLife Services and Solutions, LLC, New York, NY. Please see the plan description for details.