How To Find a Real Estate Attorney
Know what resources are available before starting your searchBy Tim Kelly, J.D. | Last updated on May 12, 2022
Use these links to jump to different sections:
- Real Estate Law: At a Glance
- Three Helpful Methods
- Questions for a Real Estate Attorney
- Finding the Right Attorney For Your Needs
Real estate attorneys can be significant assets when making a residential or commercial real estate purchase. Real estate transactions can be complicated and time-consuming, with many legal matters that need to be addressed. Additionally, some states require that an attorney be involved in the sale.
Finding a real estate attorney can be easy if you know where to look. Still, finding a good real estate attorney who can meet all of your legal needs can be a great deal harder. This article provides a broad glimpse at real estate law and offers helpful tips for finding the right real estate attorney for you.
Real Estate Law: At a Glance
Real estate law is the rules and regulations that govern the buying and selling of “real property.” Real property means anything tangible affixed to the earth, such as land or permanent structures, including residential homes and commercial buildings.
The regulation of the real estate business is conducted primarily at the state level. Because of this, it helps to have an experienced attorney who is familiar with real estate law in state and local municipalities. This is important to consider while you narrow down your search.
Note that real estate law in some states actually requires you to use an attorney. Those states are:
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
Some states require you to enlist an attorney for a title search. In these states, the attorney will provide their opinion on whether or not there is a good title for purchase:
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
As far as practice areas are concerned, real estate law is primarily transactional. This means that your lawyer works on the title search, document drafting, legal advising, and facilitating the sale’s closing. Should a dispute arise between parties, it might help to have an attorney with litigation experience.
Three Helpful Methods
Suppose you’ve decided to purchase a new home. The homebuying process can be daunting, and residential real estate law is filed with all kinds of rules and regulations involving legal concepts like zoning and comprehensive real estate contracts.
You likely know someone who has worked with a real estate attorney. Your family and friends can be an excellent resource for finding a capable, experienced real estate lawyer. Ask others about their experiences and gather information about which attorneys or law firms they used and why. Were they happy with their attorney’s performance? If so, it might be worthwhile to find that attorney’s contact information and set up a consultation.
State Bar Associations
Another great way to find attorneys is through local state bar associations. Search the internet for state bar associations. These websites include databases of local attorneys. From there, you can find lawyers that you believe might be able to meet your needs.
Searching for legal advice is time-consuming—those wanting to forgo the hassle turn to third-party services like Super Lawyers. Consider using Super Lawyers to ease your search and get in contact with the right lawyer for you today.
Begin Contacting Attorneys and Attend Free Consultations
Now that you’ve taken some time to research attorneys, you can start contacting them to set up consultations. Consultations are initial meetings with potential attorneys where you discuss your case. These meetings are often free and can be a terrific way to narrow down your selection.
Questions for a Real Estate Attorney
Many real estate attorneys provide initial free consultations to prospective clients. These meetings are a great resource for both attorney and client because it allows the attorney to hear the facts of the case while the client can determine if the attorney meets their needs.
The best way to decide whether an attorney is the right fit is by asking informed questions. Here are some good questions to ask during your initial conversations:
- Do you have experience working in real estate transactions?
- Do you have experience working with mortgage lenders?
- Have you ever drafted a real estate contract?
- Do I need title insurance?
- Do you charge an hourly rate, flat fee, or retainer pay structure?
- Can I sell my home if I am facing foreclosure?
- Can I sell my home if it is burdened by easements or liens?
Finding the Right Attorney For Your Needs
It is essential to approach the right type of attorney—someone who can help you through your entire case. To do so, you can visit the Super Lawyers directory and use the search box to find a lawyer based on your legal issue or location.
To help you get started, you may want to consider looking for a lawyer who practices real estate law.
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