Engel & Völkers Licence Partner Potchefstroom Retief Street > Blog > Do you need a commercial real estate lawyer?

Do you need a commercial real estate lawyer?

Imagine spending several months tying down the finer details of a commercial real estate contract, only to have it go south at the last moment due to zoning disputes or a previously undisclosed environmental issue. In order to safeguard deals from situations like this, many agents turn to commercial real estate lawyers for assistance. 

- Do you need a commercial real estate lawyer?

What is the difference between commercial and residential real estate?

It’s important to first make the distinction between residential and commercial real estate – namely, added risk. While purchasing a standard family home is fairly straightforward, there will be additional title issues and liens attached to commercial properties. 

There could be legal concerns regarding zoning requirements and city-specific laws. Will hazardous materials be present? Is the location suitable for the buyer’s business needs? The mandatory disclosures and consumer protections of residential real estate transactions may not apply to commercial transactions, which is why there’s additional risk involved. 

What does a commercial real estate lawyer do?

Due to the added complications that commercial real estate transactions entail, a lawyer in this field handles all of the complex paperwork. The tasks will vary, ranging from resolving zoning issues to managing contract disputes. Their clients will often include commercial property owners, commercial developers or even lenders. For example, a developer could hire a commercial real estate lawyer to provide general counsel, review all financial documents, research zoning laws and file documentation for tax purposes. 

Lawyers can assist you with reviewing deeds and negotiating leases for new commercial ventures. They will be experts when it comes to all regional or jurisdictional building laws and can give up-to-date advice accordingly. Before jumping into any commercial real estate venture, it’s important to ensure that the building or land parcel has a clear title, which is another aspect to the lawyer’s job. A commercial real estate lawyer does everything necessary to ensure that the legal aspects of commercial property transactions run smoothly. 

What reasons are there to hire a commercial real estate lawyer?

There are several reasons for real estate agents to seek out a partnership with a commercial real estate lawyer. To begin with, they address the issue of added risk inherent in any commercial transaction. With more details and research involved, the last thing you want is for something like an obscure zoning restriction or unpaid tax to get lost in the shuffle. 

Experienced lawyers help you manoeuvre around any potential issues, so that your deal doesn’t sink at the last minute due to a minute detail. A qualified attorney in this field is essential for negotiating complex contracts, assisting with warranties against structural damage or hidden environmental issues. The other party will likely be using a lawyer of their own, so you need a trained set of eyes to ensure your client’s interests are protected. 

The bottom line is that a qualified commercial property lawyer is specially trained to recognise all the ins and outs of the given market, making their services well worth considering. You can read our property insights for more information on the finer points of commercial transactions. 

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Engel & Völkers
Potchefstroom Retief Street
  • 65 Retief Street
    2531 Potchefstroom
    South Africa
  • Fax: +27 18 297 5877

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