Real Estate Attorneys
Real estate attorneys help with property disputes, drafting documents and property sale. Discover other ways a real estate attorney can help you.
Real estate attorneys are experts in real estate law, which covers any rules and regulations related to acquiring or selling property. Real estate attorneys traditionally work with larger businesses since these clients more commonly purchase and sell property, but there are also instances where a resident may require a real estate attorney. There are many states where you are required to have a real estate present before closing on a piece of property.
Even if it is not required in your state, real estate agents advise bringing a lawyer to ensure the sale is legitimate and both parties have completed the necessary paperwork. During this process, your attorney also provides advice and assistance during any property negotiations. You also need a real estate attorney during property disputes. If your lawyer is unable to reach a deal with the opposing party, your attorney goes before a judge to plead your case.
Reviewing Sales Transactions
The most common job for real estate attorneys is overseeing property sales. During a property sale, both parties must submit detailed paperwork before the property is transferred. Any errors greatly delay the process, so using a real estate attorney during this time ensures the process runs smoothly. Your attorney also gives you advice during the transaction, such as informing you of zoning laws which may complicate your construction plans once you acquire the new property. They can also use their knowledge to assess whether the property is being overvalued.
Even if you get advice from your real estate agent, lawyers have a different view on the sale and can provide unique legal advice. Real estate agents primarily consider the practical issues about a house, such as the square footage and the quality of the neighborhood. Real estate attorneys look for issues that aren’t visible, such as zoning laws or environmental regulations that limit what you can do with the property. These legal issues are why so many states require an attorney present during property sales.
There are many pieces of property that are visually in perfect condition, but the property may be unusable because of unseen issues. For example, environmental issues can damage the foundation around a house which makes it dangerous to build on. It sometimes takes several years before a foundation collapses, but once it does, it costs thousands of dollars to resolve. Real estate attorneys perform research during the sale to ensure all the relevant information is being disclosed to the buyer.
Real Estate Negotiations
Another situation where you need a real estate attorney is during property negotiations. Using their knowledge of both property and law, real estate attorneys can predict whether a property is expected to increase or decrease, based on market trends. Your real estate attorney can use this information during negotiations to decrease the cost of property you want to buy, or increase the value of property you’re selling. If there are any issues with the property, your attorney can negotiate for the other party to either repair the property before selling or lower the sales price.
In select states, you must get permission from the town or city before making significant changes to your property. Because these situations are often handled on a case-by-case basis, you may need to hire a real estate attorney to get a ruling in your favor. Skilled attorneys may also know alternative ways to get the desired change without having to get permission.
Drafting Legal Documents
Real estate law is complex and requires many legal documents. Attorneys help you prepare all the necessary documentation, whether you are buying or selling, trying to make changes to existing property or trying to leave property in your will. Real estate attorneys can also help draft rental agreements and other financial documents relating to your property.
Real Estate Disputes
While real estate attorneys are most commonly associated with buying and selling property, there are other instances where you need their services. For example, if your house is about to be foreclosed on, you can hire an attorney to negotiate with your lender. This involves either reducing how much you owe or advocating for a new payment plan to avoid foreclosure. If the foreclosure is illegal, your attorney can challenge the claim in the courtroom.
You can also hire a real estate attorney to help with breaches of contract. A common legal issue in real estate is contract breaches. If a buyer or seller promises a certain condition during negotiating but fails to deliver after selling the property, this is considered a breach of contract. Another legal issue is real estate fraud. Fraud occurs when one party either fails to disclose information or lies about a property, such as claiming a property boundary is larger than it is.
Hiring a Real Estate Attorney
Most real estate attorneys use one of two billing methods to charge clients. The first is an hourly fee, on average ranging from $150 to $300 per hour. If you are hiring an attorney for a courtroom dispute, hourly fees are typically used. The other method is charging a flat fee, on average between $500 to $1,500, based on the complexity of the issue.
There are many ways to find a real estate attorney. One option is to search for qualified attorneys through the American Bar Association. Another easy way to find a real estate attorney is to ask your property lender or real estate agent. You can also ask your friends and family members for recommendations.