Buying residential real estate in Massachusetts is different than it is in most other areas of the country. Most states allow real estate agents to draw up legal documents, such as home purchase agreements, involved in routine transactions. In these areas of the country, most homebuyers dispense with real estate attorneys except in special situations in which legal issues arise that complicate the transaction. 

However, the state law of Massachusetts requires attorney involvement in even the most routine real estate transactions. This is because, according to the 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, only an attorney in good standing with the state bar can practice law, and the understanding is that the practice of law includes drawing up legal documents as part of a real estate sale.

Nevertheless, a home buying agent still has a role to play in the process, especially if the buyer is purchasing a home for the first time. According to FindLaw, a home buying agent has experience in matters that may be foreign to the first-time homebuyer, such as finding listings that fit the client’s needs and desires, hiring inspectors and negotiating with sellers to reach an agreement over who will pay for repairs to the home. 

Though the duties are different, the roles of a real estate attorney and a home buying agent in any given transaction are similar in that the expectation is that each will advocate for the buyer and represent his or her best interests from the initiation of the home-buying process to the final closing.