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Homebuyers Risk Their Biggest Investment by Forgoing Legal Counsel, LegalShield Survey Finds 

June 10th, 2024
  • Nearly one-third of respondents with homebuying experience forced to back out of purchase due to legal issues 
  • Yet, 3 out of 4 fully rely on advice of realtors for real estate-related legal matters
  • LegalShield provider lawyer: “…a lawyer is an essential safeguard” 

A new national survey by LegalShield reveals that homebuyers are potentially risking their biggest investment by forgoing legal counsel when buying, selling, or renovating homes. Despite recognizing the value of legal guidance for major real estate transactions, survey results suggest that the majority of Americans forge ahead without a lawyer’s expertise, risking costly mistakes. 

The survey found that nearly one-third of respondents (30%) had to back out of a home purchase due to issues like hidden defects, boundary conflicts, or title problems, many of which could have been identified by a lawyer’s upfront review. 

“Involving a lawyer early empowers you to ask the right questions, understand the fine print, and build in protections to prevent costly surprises or delays down the road,” said Michael Fiffik, a real estate lawyer with Fiffik Law Group. “Legal guidance can be a powerful ally in the homebuying process.” 

Bias baked in?  

Nearly three-quarters of survey respondents (73%) held the misconception that real estate agents alone can sufficiently handle all legal requirements for a home purchase or sale. 

“For a life event like buying a home, a lawyer is an essential member of the team, along with your lender and realtor,” said Fiffik. “Without a lawyer’s input, home buyers are exposed to preventable financial and legal nightmares.”

Legally adrift 

Polling revealed that while 71% of respondents believe involving a lawyer would provide peace of mind, nearly half (46%) have never actually hired one. Half (50%) didn’t use a lawyer during home buying, and 62% went it alone when selling. 

“The majority go through this complex process without legal guidance from a lawyer, putting their life savings at major risk of costly mistakes and missed issues,” said Warren Schlichting, CEO of LegalShield. 

LegalShield is committed to making quality legal services accessible and affordable, empowering Americans to include a lawyer in their homeownership journey from the beginning. 

“We encourage everyone to be proactive and consult with a lawyer well before making any decisions or taking action when it comes to your home,” said Schlichting. “Early legal guidance can mean the difference between a smooth process and a costly ordeal.” 

  About this survey 

The LegalShield survey was conducted on April 26, 2024, and surveyed 1,218 adults, ages 18 and older, who live in the U.S. The sample was balanced by age, among other demographic variables, according to the U.S. Census.

For more survey insights, visit here.

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About LegalShield:
For more than 50 years, LegalShield has provided everyday Americans with easy and affordable access to legal advice, counsel, protection, and representation. Serving millions, LegalShield is one of the world’s largest platforms for legal, identity, and reputation management services protecting individuals and businesses across North America. Founded in 1972, LegalShield, and its privacy management product, IDShield, has provided individuals, families, businesses, and employers with tools and services needed to affordably live a just and secure life. Through technology and innovation, LegalShield is disrupting the traditional legal system and transforming how and where people receive legal guidance and services, with access to thousands of qualified, trusted attorneys and law firms. LegalShield and IDShield are products of Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. To learn more about LegalShield and IDShield, visit LegalShield.com and IDShield.com.

LegalShield Media Contact: 
Hollon Kohtz, Director of Communications 
hollonkohtz@pplsi.com