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Questions Real Estate Attorneys are Frequently Asked: An Interview with Brian Fournier of The Fournier Law Firm

By Brian Fournier

Tell us a little about yourself and your company:

My name is Brian Fournier, and I opened the New Haven office of the Fournier Law Firm in the fall of 2006 and the Waterbury office of the firm in 2011. Prior to establishing my own office, I practiced law with two respected Southern Connecticut law firms for over ten years.

The Fournier Law Firm offers personalized, experienced and affordable representation. We have experience to handle complex matters, yet we are small and agile enough to provide cost effective solutions. We handle all kinds of real estate closings from home purchases to large commercial transactions, short sales and foreclosures. Our practice areas also include personal injury, commercial and business litigation, probate, and more. For further information about our work, please visit our web site at www.fournierlawfirm.com.

I am dedicated to my clients and my practice, but outside of the law I enjoy spending time with my family, serving the community - including service to town government in both elected and appointed positions and volunteering with community organizations - sports (baseball, football, and basketball), and travel.

What Real Estate transactions do you typically oversee?

The Fournier Law Firm handles a wide range of real estate transactions, including residential and commercial purchases, sales, and refinancing.

What is a list of frequently asked questions from your clients and their answers?

3.1 When do I need to get a real estate attorney?

Ideally, you should retain a real estate attorney as early in the process as possible. Many issues can be avoided down the road if you talk to an attorney before you sign a purchase and sale agreement. But regardless of when you decide to hire an attorney, you should definitely retain someone to protect your rights.

3.2 Why do I need a real estate attorney?

In Connecticut, you are required to have a licensed attorney handle your real estate closing. Aside from that, it is important to have a knowledgeable professional walk you through the process. The bank and the other party in the real estate transaction will each have attorneys, so it is important to have someone looking out for your interests in the transaction.

3.3 What is title insurance?

"Title" refers to the ownership rights in a property. Title insurance protects you against hidden defects in the title, and is required when purchasing a property. Problems with title can occur if something is missed in the title search, if the seller turns out not to be the legitimate owner of the property, if someone else claims ownership of the property, or if there is a dispute about the property lines. A loan policy protects the bank's interest only, while an owner's title insurance policy protects the buyer's interest beyond the amount of the mortgage. The cost of title insurance is standardized - all companies charge the same rate, which is based on the purchase price of the property and the loan amount of the transaction.

3.4 What are conveyance taxes?

When you sell property in Connecticut, you will have to pay a percentage of the proceeds to the state of Connecticut as well as to the town in which the property is located.

3.5 How soon can I close on my new home?

If it were up to us, we could close on your house within a week or so. However, the closing date is dependent on many factors, including the agreed upon date in the contract, when the seller is ready to move out, and when the bank is ready to fund your mortgage. These factors can add weeks, and, in some cases, months to the final closing date.

What is your best piece of advice for people searching for a real estate lawyer?

Not all lawyers are the same. Look for someone with experience and accessibility, and do not be so concerned with shopping around based on fees. Most attorney's fees in Connecticut will vary less than a few hundred dollars, compared to the value of your home purchase being in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Your home is likely the largest purchase you will make in your lifetime; don't cut corners when choosing your real estate lawyer.

What's the best way to contact your business?

The best way to contact us is by email (closings@fournierlawfirm.com)

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