Questions To Ask Your Real Estate attorney
Questions To Ask Your Real Estate attorney
Asking the right questions tells you about the lawyer’s experience, their familiarity with the law and even their personality. This information will give you peace of mind because you’ll know you hired the right practitioner.
Here are seven questions to ask before hiring a real estate lawyer.
1. How long have you practiced real estate law?
In some situations, it’s acceptable to work with an attorney who has limited experience. The straightforward purchase or sale of a house can be handled by an associate or junior partner. Chances are good that relying on a less experienced lawyer also will mean a lower bill.
However, if your real estate transaction is complex or at all out-of-the-ordinary, then it’s fine to insist on a practitioner with five or more years of experience. There’s no substitute for being in the trenches for a decade or more. Such a lawyer has seen a lot, and this likely means that they’ve seen a transaction like yours. That detailed knowledge may prove valuable to the success of your transaction.
2. How long have you practiced in this state?
Typically, state law regulates real estate transactions, but those laws can vary widely from state to state. The more familiar with your state’s laws the practitioner is, the better able he’ll be to handle your case expeditiously. A lawyer who’s new to practice in your state may not be as desirable as one who’s been there for a decade or more.
3. Have you handled cases similar to mine?
If you’re involved in a straightforward purchase or sale, then most attorneys practicing in this field should be able to answer this question with a resounding “yes.”
However, if there’s anything unusual about your transaction, then it’s wise to ascertain the practitioner’s experience with similar matters. Although he won’t be able to provide you with specifics with regard to the client or the terms of the transaction, he should be able to summarize at least one matter that came to a satisfactory resolution.
This familiarity may mean that your case can be handled with increased speed and skill.
4. How will you approach this transaction?
A seasoned real estate attorney who is familiar with the type of matter that you bring to him should be able to provide you with a detailed summary of the steps that will be needed to resolve your case. This may involve two or three scenarios depending upon the variables that may crop up during the process, but this will still give you the idea that the practitioner knows what he’s talking about.
Beware of the lawyer who simply says something along the lines of, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of it.” This indicates a lack of knowledge and experience. A reputable attorney may not have all of the answers immediately to hand if your case is really unusual, but he’ll be upfront about the need to do some research.
5. Who will be working on my case?
Many attorneys offer you a free consultation, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the person you’re meeting with will be doing the substantive work on the case. To cut client costs, legal work may be passed to associates or paralegals who have knowledge in the area but charge a lower hourly rate. These legal professionals work under the supervision of a knowledgeable partner so you can rest assured of the quality of their work.
If the attorney who holds the consultation with you will not be handling the work himself, ask to meet the people who will be doing the work. It’s wise to establish rapport with them, especially if you’ll have to communicate with them throughout the process.
6. How do you like to communicate?
Telephone calls, emails, text messages and letters in the mail all may be used in the legal industry to communicate with clients. If you have a strong preference for a certain communication type, let the attorney know. He should be able to accommodate you for efficient information sharing.
7. How much is this going to cost?
Some transactions can be performed for a flat fee while others are charged at an hourly rate. It’s impossible for your lawyer to give you a precise figure for the entire process, but he should provide an estimate. Many attorneys also provide a written fee schedule so that it’s easier to understand how much you’re paying and what it covers.
Contact a real estate attorney to learn more about how these professionals can facilitate any transaction.