Hiring A Real Estate Lawyer
5 Things To Consider When Hiring A Real Estate Lawyer
Here are five tips for hiring an attorney:
1. Schedule a Consultation Early
Working with a lawyer can be costly, but it’s more costly to realize that you’ve signed a flawed contract and now want to get out of it. Instead of putting yourself at risk, consult with a lawyer at the beginning of the process. With their early intervention, it’s possible to ensure that any contracts you sign are accurate and complete. What’s more, you can rest assured that the title on the property is clear and that you’re not agreeing to anything unduly burdensome. It might cost a couple of thousand dollars to have an attorney throughout the process, but that’s nothing compared to the multiple thousands of dollars that may be required when attempting to undo a signed contract.
2. Consider Experience
How long has your attorney been practicing? Perhaps even more importantly, how long has he been practicing in real estate?
You want an attorney who can say that they’ve been involved in the real estate industry for many years. They are intimately familiar with the state’s laws, and they probably know a great deal about the local real estate market. This gives you peace of mind because you know that your lawyer understands the market. Additionally, ascertain whether or not the attorney has experience with the specific type of transaction with which you’re involved. Standard sales and purchases probably won’t require much unusual expertise, but if there’s a hint of anything out-of-the-ordinary about the transaction, bring this to the lawyer’s attention. Ask him if he’s handled a similar transaction, and what he recommends for ensuring a smooth process.
3. Choose an Actual Real Estate Attorney
You wouldn’t expect a psychiatrist to be able to handle your heart surgery. While they are both doctors, they specialize in wildly dissimilar areas. Lawyers are the same in that they may focus their practice in any one of a number of areas. General practitioners may pick up a variety of cases, and some of these professionals can handle simple real estate transactions. However, true peace of mind can only be achieved when you work with a genuine real estate lawyer. In general, these practitioners have special certifications, training, knowledge and experience that uniquely prepare them to represent you in a wide range of real estate matters. You’ll receive the most thorough and robust representation when you work with an attorney whose sole focus is on real estate.
4. Contact the Bar Association in Your State
States and counties in the United States typically have bar associations with which attorneys are associated. Bar associations regulate the legal profession within their jurisdiction, and membership may be mandatory in many places. Because membership in a bar association in many states is required, the organization serves as a wonderful resource for potential clients. By visiting the association’s website or calling their phone number, members of the public can obtain important information concerning any registered attorney. This information may include whether or not the attorney is actually admitted to the bar in that state as well as the valid status of their license to practice law. Some bar associations provide public access to any complaints against the attorney or disciplinary actions that may have been taken against the lawyer.
Clearly, even a rudimentary check with the state bar association is an important step toward hiring a reputable and well-qualified attorney.
5. Be Clear About the Fee Schedule
Legal representation can be costly. Moreover, while some practitioners charge rock-bottom prices, others are geared more toward a wealthy clientele. The bargain-basement lawyer may not have the experience and attention to detail that you need. On the other hand, your transaction may not be large enough to be of interest to a big-dollar attorney. Fortunately, there are many honest, hard-working, reputable real estate practitioners who fall between these two extremes. Even if you find an attorney who seems to have a reasonable fee schedule, don’t hesitate to ask questions. Any ambiguities in the fee schedule may come back to haunt you later. Ask the attorney about charges that may crop up if you call them or if they have to write you a letter. How much will it cost to review and potentially revise a contract? Is there an extra cost for copies, postage and administrative tasks? The clearer you are about the fee schedule, the fewer surprises you’ll discover down the road.
Use these tips for hiring a real estate lawyer whenever you’re about to enter into a transaction that involves property