Question: I am buying a vacation home in New Hampshire. You have informed me that I need to hire a New Hampshire licensed attorney to help with my contract. However, why can you perform my closing as my closing attorney, but cannot help me with my contract?
Answer: I promise you were not being discriminated against. I have nothing against vacationing in New Hampshire, in fact, I love Storyland, the mountains, and even Hampton Beach.
I hold a Massachusetts license, which unfortunately prevents me from practicing law in other states. Representing you in your New Hampshire purchase would amount me to the unauthorized practice of law. A lawyer can be disbarred for such activity, and I will need this job if I hope to someday acquire a vacation home too.
I am, however, allowed to perform your closing due to a statute in New Hampshire that specifically authorizes me to do so. In New Hampshire, as well as many other states, the equivalent of a Notary Public license is all that is needed in order to handle a closing. Typically, large nationally based title companies coordinate and conduct real estate closings using notaries public. A wise lender, nonetheless, will hire an attorney to perform notary services, even if they are out of state.
Planning a closing is much more than simply pointing to a page and saying, “sign here.” Legal knowledge and thorough oversight is required for even a basic refinance. Lenders will benefit from a lawyer’s high knowledge and experience if problems were to arise.
Attorney James Haroutunian practices real estate law in Massachusetts. This article was originally published in the Lowell Sun and is for informational purposes only and not to be relied on as legal advice, in any manner.