General Question

livingchoice's avatar

Questions to ask a Real Estate Lawyer?

Asked by livingchoice (553points) June 16th, 2011

I’m in the process of closing on a home in a couple of weeks and need to hire a Real Estate Lawyer to protect my rights during the closing. How do I select a good Real Estate Lawyer? What questions should I ask them to make sure they know what they are talking about?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

4 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Here’s a guide on selecting a good lawyer. Lots of good questions!

Here are the questions for reference:

How to Find a (Good) Real Estate Lawyer
by Sue Caskey

Attorney, Sue Caskey, originally posted this article on our Main News Group.

I posted this in response to someone asking how to find a good real estate lawyer. It can be hard to know whether a lawyer is worth the money you’re being charged, and it can be a lot of money to waste!

Hopefully my ideas will help you find someone competent and willing to work with you. I’ve added a little bit about pre-paid legal service plans that was not in my original post.—Sue Caskey

As a corporate attorney, myself, here’s what I looked for when seeking out an real estate lawyer. Find someone who:

1. Spends 60% or more of his practice doing ONLY real estate. Lots of general practitioners will tell you that yes, they can do closings, trusts, etc. But they are actually learning on your nickel.

2. Has been doing real estate law for at least five years.

3. Is recommended by other experienced real estate investors you know. Contacts through your local real estate club are valuable here.

4. Is a member of the local REIA.

5. Invests in real estate.

6. Has several if not many full-time, professional real estate investors as clients. Ask about their clients. You want to hear that they represent individuals with everything from Section 8 portfolios to rehabbers to strip malls and other commercial properties. You’ll know they’ve been tried and tested!

7. Is on the real estate committee of your local bar association or is involved in running or developing the continuing legal education courses for the county. Those are classes taught by lawyers for lawyers, and the person who’s running them will know his stuff. The county bar association should be able to help you find those people.

8. Works for himself or is a partner in a small firm. While you might find someone very experienced in a big major law firm, they will charge you like crazy. A big firm letterhead is absolutely NO guarantee of quality.

In my opinion, lawyers running their own shops are closer to the businessman’s mind set because they run a business too. They are more flexible and willing to work with you on price and more. They don’t have to answer to managing partners or hoards of other partners demanding certain profit margins.

9. Is willing to listen to you about certain creative transactions. Things like lease options, double closings, setting up a land trust, 1031 exchanges, creating paper, holding your deposits in escrow instead of having to hand it over to the listing agent, and some other things you’ve seen on this site are worth running by them. The response you’re looking for is one of interest and willingness to work with you.

You may not get complete acceptance because some of it might not be familiar, but if they say they’re at least willing to explore your ideas, that’s good. You DON’T want someone who starts pontificating about why all that stuff is illegal, can’t do it, etc. You don’t need a parent, you need a team member.

10. Is available to you regardless of how much money you are spending with them. No matter how “good” the lawyer is—how experienced, if they ignore you they are not worth your time. You need someone who understands that you want a long-term relationship. If they treat you with disrespect, they don’t deserve your money. They should return calls and email within a reasonable time frame and should be willing to answer BASIC questions off the meter.

11. Understands that one hand washes the other. If they can refer you to other investors or potential members of your real estate team (CPAs, sellers, etc), and they give you the service above, be sure to send clients their way. You’ll be surprised at how a fruitful relationship will develop. This person will have connections that can benefit you.

livingchoice's avatar

Wow, lots to read. Thanks for the info!!!!

YARNLADY's avatar

@livingchoice HA If you think that’s a lot, wait until you get to closing. If you are very conscientious, you will read every document. My husband does this, and it freaks out the sellers and their agents. He does it with every document we sign, for every transaction.

perspicacious's avatar

The agent usually does this. If you have attempted to buy or sell without a real estate agent I suggest getting a good RE attorney to handle the closing.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther