Do I need to hire an attorney for a refinance?


Q. I’m refinancing my mortgage for the first time. Do I need to hire an attorney in the same way I did when I first bought my house?
— Homeowner

A. A refinance is a bit different.

Generally, most refinances in New Jersey can be handled directly between the borrower, the mortgage lender and a settlement agent – usually a title company – that’s been approved by the lender, said Jason Rittie, a partner and real estate attorney with Einhorn Barbarito in Denville.

“A vast majority of borrowers do not hire an attorney to oversee or assist in the refinance process because the mortgage lender will prepare all closing documents and ship them to the settlement agent so that the settlement agent can prepare a closing statement, obtain payoffs, clear title and conduct the closing,” Rittie said.

However, he said, neither the mortgage lender nor the settlement agent can represent a borrower’s legal interests during the process to make sure legal documents and the process are conducted in accordance with laws.

The ultimate decision whether to hire an attorney for refinances rests solely on borrower’s level of trust and comfort with the mortgage lender, he said.

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This story was originally published Aug. 15, 2019. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.