Real Estate Attorney Overview

A real estate attorney is a lawyer who specializes in real estate law. Real estate law itself can encompass a wide variety of topics. However, it primarily pertains to matters like:

  • buying or selling a home
  • buying, selling, or leasing commercial property
  • real estate contractual disputes
  • title insurance
  • sale or purchase transactions

More specifically, a real estate lawyer represents clients throughout the entirety of legal proceedings related to buying, selling, or renting residential or commercial properties as well as disputes, contractual negotiations, or transactions related to liquidating or obtaining property. A real estate attorney also can prepare and review real estate documents like purchase agreements, title insurance policies, transfer paperwork, and mortgage contracts.

People who are in the process of buying a home, business, or tract of land may want to hire a real estate lawyer to oversee the closing of the transaction. The real estate attorney can be on hand to offer legal guidance related to purchase or sale of the real estate as well as ensure that the entire transaction is legally binding and in your legal and financial best interests.

Real estate attorneys can practice alone or be a part of a larger real estate law firm. They are considered to be authorities in this area of law and can make the process of buying, selling, or leasing property easier and faster. If you are wondering whether or not to hire a property lawyer to represent you in your case, you may be convinced once you discover the numerous advantages that lawyers for real estate cases can offer you as a client.

Reasons to Retain Real Estate Attorneys

A property lawyer can offer you a number of legal benefits that would not be available to you during the real estate transaction without such representation. As mentioned, one of the foremost advantages that you get as a real estate attorney client involves the protection of your best interests during the sale, purchase, or leasing of the property in question.

Like many other lay people, you may not be well-versed in your state's property laws. Your main focus might simply be to obtain the real estate by any legal means available to you.

However, you might not be aware of what is legal and what is off limits to you as a real estate client. A property attorney can advise you accordingly and also make sure that you do not break any of the laws on the books in your city or state.

Further, your property attorney makes sure that you are not taken advantage of during the transaction and that you are informed fully of the terms of the sale, lease, or purchase. With most state real estate laws being intricately complicated and near impossible for lay people to understand, you might not know if you are being lied to or not or if the terms of the contract could be turned against you at some point in the future. Before you sign the dotted line, you can have your residential or commercial real estate lawyer read through the contract, dispute misleading, false, or unclear details, and ensure that you are signing something that is in your best interests.

Before you sign, however, you might have a litany of questions that you want answered. When the seller, buyer, or lessor cannot answer those concerns, your best resource to get accurate information would be the real estate lawyer you hire to represent you.

Your real estate lawyer makes it a priority to be on hand to answer all of your questions even when the other person involved in the transaction refuses or simply cannot answer them for you. The real estate attorney will also have the most updated information so that you do not have to delay the transaction until the other party can come up with the right answer.

Lawyers for real estate are also ready to handle more complicated matters that may elude the average buyer, seller, or property lesser. For example, you may have issues regarding the zoning or use of the land that you want to buy or lease. Rather than take on the zoning board in the city or county by yourself, you can retain a residential or commercial real estate lawyer to represent your interests and get you the results you want.

Likewise, you may need to clear up issues with the real estate title and make sure that it is marketable and valid. If you cannot take time off work to go to the courthouse or appraiser's office or are not sure what the process requires, you can entrust this matter to your real estate attorney.

Finally, your real estate attorney will make it a priority to expedite the transaction and make it easier to complete legally and successfully. Real estate legal proceedings can be complicated, time consuming, and frustrating. When you have a lawyer representing you, you give yourself the legal resource you need to avoid most of the worry and effort involved and instead be able to look forward to buying or selling the property.

As much as you may realize the advantages that come with retaining a real estate attorney, you still might have questions about how to find the best one to take your case. You can make looking for and hiring a good real estate attorney easier by keeping some basic tips in mind as you vet and interview prospective lawyers in your area.

Hiring a Real Estate Attorney

If you have never before hired legal counsel, let alone a real estate attorney, you may have numerous questions about what kinds of qualifications to keep in mind during the process. The first thing to consider is that you should hire an experienced real estate attorney who has several years' worth of experience practicing in this area of law.

While a newly graduated real estate attorney might know the basics of the proceedings, you do not want to risk the outcome of your own matter to a complete novice. Instead, you want a lawyer who is well-versed, experienced, and more than ready to help you with your property issue.

Second, you want a real estate attorney who is admitted to the state's bar and is licensed to practice in the state in which you plan to obtain the property. Every state has its own set of real estate and property laws that vary from the laws used in other states. It is important that you hire a real estate attorney who has experience utilizing the state's laws and knows how to apply them to your case.

Finally, you should look for a real estate attorney who gets glowing reviews from others. You may know someone or several people who have used the services of a property lawyer.

You can ask people you know, work with, and trust to give you their recommendation on which attorney to hire. You can also look on legal review websites to find out which attorneys in your area have the highest ratings from previous clients.

Once you make up a list of prospective attorneys to interview, you should make it a priority to put the one in whom you feel the most confident on retainer. You do not want to hire legal help too late to get you the legal results you want with your case.

When to Retain Legal Real Estate Counsel

When it comes to dealing with real estate transactions, your best bet would be to put a real estate attorney on retainer sooner rather than later. In fact, you should already have an attorney at the ready to represent you anytime you want to:

  • buy commercial or residential property
  • sell commercial or residential property
  • buy real estate title insurance
  • deal with property issues like back taxes, land use, or zoning conflicts
  • ask questions about obtaining real estate

Having a real estate attorney ready to represent you in any of these matters can protect you from actions like countersuits, fraud, incomplete sales, back taxes, or other complications that could impact the outcome of your case. An attorney who is on hand from the beginning of the transaction can act as your representative and advocate throughout the proceedings and take over negotiations and communications with the other party involved with the real estate deal.

Real estate attorneys make it a priority to protect your best interests in any kind of commercial or residential property transaction. You may not be familiar with your state's property laws. Rather than risk the legal outcome you want, you can get expert representation and advice by putting a real estate attorney on retainer before you buy, sell, or even lease commercial or residential property.

Short Version

A real estate attorney is a lawyer who specializes in representing clients who want to buy, sell, or lease property like homes, businesses, or plots of land. All 50 states, as well as the various U.S. territories, have their own set of real estate and property laws. These laws can be difficult to understand if you want to buy a new home, sell your business, or buy a tract of land for sale in your county.

The laws regulate everything from who can buy property to how the land that you want to buy can be used. These laws are also subject to change anytime, which can make it difficult for you to complete a legal transaction without incurring penalties or fines.

Rather than attempt to read and understand the complicated real estate laws in your state, you can make any real estate transaction you want to complete faster and easier by hiring a real estate attorney to represent you. Your attorney will protect your best interests and clear up any confusion with insurance, titles, land use, or other matters that could interfere your transaction.

Your lawyer will also be on hand to answer any questions you have and protect you from the unscrupulous actions of anyone who intends to mislead or take advantage of you. Before you start any real estate process, you should put one of these specialized lawyers on retainer. You can find the best attorney to take on your real estate case by asking friends and family members for referrals or by going online to read the reviews of previous clients.

Real estate lawyers have the option of joining and being a part of a larger property law firm or working alone as independent attorneys. Regardless of their decision, they are held to the highest legal standards in every state and are trained to protect you, your finances, and your legal status throughout the real estate buying process.