How to Hire a Real Estate Lawyer

    • Real estate attorneys are experts in federal, state, and local laws pertaining to real property and related transactions. When refinancing or purchasing real property, the bank will always have an attorney representing their interests. There are circumstances, however, where it's important to have an attorney representing your interests as well.

  • Step 1: Do You Need a Real Estate Attorney?
    • There are a number of situations that might call for the help of a real estate lawyer. Each situation is slightly different, so you'll want to make sure the attorney you hire as relevant experience.
    1. If you have a property dispute with a neighbor, that you feel may affect the value of your property, or that it looks like you won't be able to resolve amicably, you'll want to consult with a real estate attorney.
    2. When buying or selling a house without a real estate agent, you will definitely want a real estate attorney to draw up or review the contracts you'll be entering into.
    3. If you are buying or selling with an agent, and the other party has an attorney, you definitely want your own lawyer.
    4. If you are buying or selling and the transaction is complicated, you want to hire an attorney.
    5. If you are buying or selling with agent, and the other party doesn't have a lawyer, and the contracts are standard, you may not need an attorney, but you can be assured that your interests are being protected if you do hire one.
    6. The bank will have an attorney involved in refinancing. Although the attorney represents the bank's interests, and not yours, there are generally not discretionary terms that you can dispute in the contracts, so you probably don't need your own attorney.

  • Step 2: Get Referrals for Real Estate Lawyers
    • Ask friends and family for names of real estate lawyers that they've had good experiences with. Your real estate agent should also be able to suggest some attorneys that they have worked with. The state bar association will have a list of licensed real e tate attorneys, and the American Bar Association has an online Lawyer Locater that you can use to find real estate attorneys in your state.

  • Step 3: Interview a Few Real Estate Attorneys
    • After assembling your list of real estate lawyers, select a few to interview before determining which one to hire.
    1. Ask about their experience in the particular area you need assistance in.
    2. Although you may already have gotten a referral from a friend or family member, ask the lawyer for additional references.

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