Buying a home can be a daunting process. Between the showings, negotiations and mountains of paperwork, you need all the help you can get. While a real estate agent is a helpful and necessary guide for your home buying journey, it’s often wise to acquire the services of a lawyer as well.

Property transactions involve the law in ways that other purchases do not. A real estate lawyer is uniquely trained in this legal area. Here are three specific reasons you need a lawyer when buying a home:

1.Real estate agents can’t give you legal advice

Real estate agents have strict limitations when it comes to legal advice–namely, they’re not allowed to give it. While your agent can answer simple questions about things like a property’s square footage, you may have bigger questions that they’re simply unable to field. Additionally, the penalty for a realtor giving legal advice can include a loss of license.

For example, let’s say you’re looking at buying a townhouse. You may have questions about a party wall easement that separates your property from your neighbor’s. These questions would be best suited for a lawyer, as your real estate agent may not be able to give you the in-depth answer you need.

2. Purchase agreements are complicated

After you’ve found the home of your dreams, and you and the seller have agreed on a price, it’s time to sign off on a purchase agreement. This document is a detailed and important one, so you’ll want a lawyer to answer any of your questions.

A lawyer can also add provisions to protect you should any issues arise. If, for example, an inspection reveals that your dream house is loaded with asbestos, a real estate lawyer can add language that allows you to walk away from the deal.

3. Closing time is critical

Good news: you’ve made it to the closing. Your home buying marathon seems to be approaching the finish line. At closing, the title will be exchanged and the remaining balance of the purchase price will be paid. A lawyer can help explain the closing costs, as well as assure that the documents are properly signed and executed.

Chances are the seller will have a lawyer present at the closing, so you’d be wise to protect yourself with an attorney of your own. After all, you’ve made it this far, you don’t want a last-minute snag to put a damper on what should be a triumphant occasion.

If you’re looking to buy a home, hiring a real estate agent is a great first step. In order to protect yourself–and the biggest investment of your life–consulting with a real estate lawyer is the best way to achieve peace of mind during your home purchasing process.

What have your friends or family members said about home purchases?