By Bill Gassett
Finding the right real estate attorney can be daunting, especially when you are not from the area you're living in. However, with the right tips, you can make it much more straightforward.
The two most common reasons someone would hire an attorney for real estate are transferring property and buying one. Having an attorney representing your interests when buying or selling a home is always an excellent idea.
But finding one when you don't know any can be a little bit more challenging. Let's look at how you may locate an excellent real estate lawyer.
Use Google as a Search Tool
Searching for many things is a breeze when you head to Google for answers. Finding an attorney for real estate is no different. One of the better ways to find a lawyer nearby is to search for either a real estate attorney near me or an attorney for real estate near me.
Google is as good as they are and will come up with real estate lawyers near your address. It is often referred to as the Google "3 pack," where three prominent businesses are featured.
Usually, these businesses are well-known by the community and typically have good reviews. Don't take the recommendations from a search engine for granted. Due diligence is always essential whether hiring an attorney, real estate agent or service provider.
Ask a Real Estate Agent For a Referral
A real estate agent is one of the best sources for finding an attorney.
When it comes to finding a lawyer, you may want to consider leaning on your real estate agent for advice. Real estate agents are experts in the field and can help connect you with reputable attorneys specializing in real estate law.
Many agents also have relationships with attorneys who may offer discounted rates or services specifically tailored to real estate clients.
Most Realtors work with numerous attorneys when buying and selling real estate, so they know who is good and who to stay away from.
If you are working with a buyer's agent, ask them for a recommendation. You can do the same for the listing agent when you're selling a home.
Ask Friends and Family
Do you know who will likely have recently used an attorney for real estate? You guessed it: friends and family. Relatives and friends are an excellent resource because they are likely to be candid about their experiences. They may have had a positive experience with a particular attorney and would be happy to recommend them.
Did the attorney take the time to answer questions satisfactorily? Were they prompt in returning calls and emails? Did they make you feel like your interests were protected at all times?
Many qualified lawyers are available, so be sure to do your research before deciding.
Do More Research Yourself
Once you have the name of an attorney you would like to hire, do your research again. This time, look into their background and see if any complaints are filed against them. If there are, be sure to avoid hiring them.
What Does an Attorney Do For You?
There are many things a real estate attorney does in a transaction.
An attorney is a legal professional who helps clients with their legal problems and provides legal assistance with buying and selling homes. They can help you with estate planning, tax law and other legal matters.
Some common services an attorney may provide include:
- Reviewing and negotiating contracts
- Providing legal advice on mortgages, home equity loans and other financial products
- Helping to draft legal documents (such as wills or contracts)
- Representing home buyers and sellers
- Holding money in escrow for a buyer or seller
They may represent you in court, help you with negotiations, or provide other legal services. Depending on the situation, an attorney may also be able to provide guidance on estate planning, business law and more.
When buying a home, a real estate attorney will be involved with checking to make sure there are no title encumbrances against the property. You won't want to purchase a property with liens, lot line disputes or other real estate-related issues.
When selling a house, they will ensure the purchase agreement does not have anything that would unjustly favor the buyer. They will also prepare a new deed for the closing and attend on the seller's behalf with a power of attorney.
Final Thoughts on Finding a Real Estate Attorney
When choosing a real estate attorney, it is crucial to consider what services they offer and what qualifications they have. Many attorneys have law degrees from respected universities and have worked as prosecutors or defense lawyers. However, not all attorneys are required to have these credentials. In fact, many people choose attorneys based on their personal relationships and referrals.
If you require legal assistance, it is essential to seek out a lawyer who is experienced in the specific area of law that you need help with. You can also ask around for recommendations before making a decision.
Bill Gassett is a nationally recognized real estate leader who has been helping people buy and sell MetroWest Massachusetts real estate for the past 33 years. He has been one of the top RE/MAX REALTORS® in New England for the past decade. Gassett works for RE/MAX Executive Realty in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. In 2018, he was the No. 1 RE/MAX real estate agent in Massachusetts.