The Cook & Tolley Blog

What to Look For in a Real Estate Lawyer: A Guide

real estate lawyer

There are now over 804,000 lawyers throughout the United States. Not every lawyer will have the ability to help you manage real estate, though. Instead, you’ll need to find an experienced real estate lawyer in the area.

Here are seven qualifications to prioritize during your search. With these tips, you can find the best lawyer based on your distinct needs.

Their expertise will ensure you make informed decisions before you purchase or sell real estate. You’ll have peace of mind knowing a knowledgeable lawyer is there to help.

Start your search for the best real estate lawyers in the area with these tips today.

1. Qualifications

First, it’s important to make sure each lawyer on your list is qualified to offer legal advice.

Start searching by visiting your local bar association website. You can also check the Martindale-Hubbell law firm directory for options. Begin creating a list of real estate attorneys that practice in the area.

As you research each lawyer, it’s important to make sure their credentials are up-to-date. Make sure they’re licensed to practice in the state.

Determine if each lawyer on your list has any other qualifications that set them apart from other real estate attorneys in the area. For example, they might have a membership with a local or national law association.

Determine if they’ve won any awards or accolades for their services, too. Prioritize these lawyers by placing them at the top of your list.

2. Experience

It’s not enough to find real estate attorneys with the proper credentials. It’s also necessary to make sure they’re experienced.

First, consider how long each real estate lawyer on your list has practiced law. Consider how long they’ve practiced locally, too. Some laws and procedures can vary based on your location.

In fact, some states require you to have a real estate attorney present to supervise real estate transactions. These states include:

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • West Virginia
  • South Carolina
  • Rhode Island
  • Massachusetts
  • Georgia
  • North Carolina

You might also need a lawyer to certify a title in some states. These states include:

  • Mississippi
  • North Dakota
  • Alabama
  • Louisiana
  • Oklahoma
  • Wyoming
  • South Dakota

Even if you don’t live in one of these states, it pays off to have a real estate attorney present. They’ll protect your best interests. If you don’t have experience handling real estate law, they can help you navigate the process.

Determine how long each lawyer on your list has specialized in real estate law. Choose someone with years of hands-on experience. They’ll have an easier time helping you navigate any legal matters.

3. Reputation

Before making any final decisions, look up each lawyer online. Check their law firm’s Better Business Bureau and Google My Business listings. You could come across reviews for each lawyer on your list.

Otherwise, ask each lawyer for three references you can contact.

Make a list of questions you want to ask about each lawyer. For example:

  • Was the lawyer able to answer your questions
  • Did they resolve your situation
  • Did you encounter any problems while working with them
  • Would you hire them again

Pay attention to comments about the lawyer’s communication skills and professionalism. Choose someone with a strong reputation.

Their reputation could speak to their ability to help you.

4. Services

Handling paperwork is a problem for about 20% of buyers. Make sure the real estate lawyer you choose offers the services you need.

Otherwise, you might find they lack the expertise you’re searching for. Real estate lawyers can help with:

  • Drafting and reviewing contracts and other documents
  • Overseeing the transfer of deeds and titles
  • Mortgage fraud
  • Zoning issues
  • Helping with properties that have a restrictive covenant
  • Verifying if a property has a lien
  • Negotiating deals on your behalf

Think about your specific situation. Then, ask the lawyer how many similar cases they’ve handled over the years. Ask about a recent client they’ve helped who required the same services, too.

If the lawyer doesn’t have years of experience helping clients in the same situation, remove them from your list. The best lawyer will answer your questions about relevant real estate laws without hesitation. If they need to look up information because their specialty lies elsewhere, choose another lawyer.

You’ll have peace of mind knowing the lawyer you choose is experienced in handling your specific real estate needs.

5. Personality

Schedule a consultation with two or three real estate lawyers on your list. Let them know about the real estate transaction you’re interested in. Ask if they’re able to help with your situation.

Meeting them in person can help you determine if they’re the right fit.

Pay attention to how the lawyer holds themselves. Are they confident? Make sure they’re a strong communicator and able to think on their feet.

Choose someone you feel comfortable around, too. If you question their ethics, remove them from your list.

Make sure you have a list of questions you want to ask prepared before each meeting.

6. Availability

Ask each lawyer you meet with how many clients they’re currently helping. Determine if they’re available to meet your needs and deadline. If they’re too busy, you might struggle to get in contact with them in the future.

Determine if you’ll speak with the lawyer directly in the future as well. They might refer you to a paralegal or assistant for future communications.

Try to find a lawyer who can dedicate their time and attention to your needs.

7. Fees

During your visit with each lawyer, ask about their fee structure. Make sure they suit your budget.

Some lawyers will work on a retainer. Others will have a fixed rate for specific services.

Don’t rush to choose real estate lawyers based on pricing alone. Asking more than one about their fees will help you gauge the average cost of services.

Start Searching: 7 Qualities to Look for in a Real Estate Lawyer

You’re not obligated to hire the first real estate lawyer you call. Instead, use these tips to find the best real lawyer in town. With these tips, you can feel confident in your final choice.

They’ll help you throughout every step of your transaction.

Need a real estate attorney right away? We’re here for you.

Request a consultation appointment today to get started.

Cook & Tolley, LLP
304 E Washington St
Athens, GA 30601
(706) 549-6111

We’re here for you.

Please reach out to us today.