Finding a good real estate lawyer is critical to ensuring your interests are protected in a property transaction or when legal issues arise. Although it can be tempting to simply choose someone with the best reviews on the internet, there are multiple factors to consider before hiring an attorney. These tips can help you understand what to look for in a real estate lawyer and find the one who is right for you.
Real estate is a specialized, complex area of the law. You want to make sure you choose an attorney who has experience handling myriad aspects of real estate and who is familiar with local, state, and federal law. Regulations vary by jurisdiction, so it is important to find a real property lawyer familiar with local laws, processes, regulations, and courts. Another thing to consider is the type of real estate transaction or legal matter you are tackling. For example, if you are purchasing a commercial property, finding an attorney who has handled transactions similar to yours is critical.
A few questions to ask include:
- Have you successfully handled cases similar to mine?
- Is real estate law your primary focus?
- Are you a member of any local or national real estate law organizations?
In addition to checking out reviews on the internet, ask an attorney whether they have won any awards or accolades in their area of law. It is also good to ask family or friends if they have worked with a lawyer they would recommend. Do not hesitate to request references from a lawyer’s former clients as well. Some questions to ask clients include:
- Did the attorney answer your questions?
- How responsive were they?
- Were you pleased with how they handled your case?
- Did they resolve any problems you may have encountered?
- Would you hire them again?
Talking to an attorney’s clients can help you narrow down your list and get a feel for who may be the best fit for your circumstances and personality.
Transactions and legal issues involving real estate come with a lot of paperwork and procedures. While a contract attorney may be fine for drafting a simple purchase agreement, make sure a lawyer offers the specific services you need. An experienced real estate lawyer may be able to help you with:
- Negotiating deals on your behalf
- Drafting and reviewing contracts
- Title searches and insurance
- Lien searches
- Transfer of deeds and titles
- Mortgages and financing
- Zoning issues
- Building regulations
- Environmental considerations
Personality and Communication Style
Keeping lines of communication open with your real estate attorney is vital, and not everyone’s personalities or styles are compatible. Pay attention to how a lawyer speaks to you, answers questions, and whether they can think on their feet. Do you feel comfortable asking them questions? Do they explain legal concepts in terms that are easy to understand? Will they be available when you need assistance or check in on how things are going? Attorney-client relationships are built on trust, so it is important to choose someone you are confident will look out for your best interests.
Our West Chester real estate lawyers handle all aspects of residential and commercial real estate law. We are dedicated to finding innovative solutions and working toward the best possible outcomes for clients.