For an ordinary citizen, the practice of law, by nature, is a rather complex one. To navigate the ins and outs and the twists and turns of the legal world, we will always need a skilled and experienced attorney to guide us.
Nowhere is this truer than in the world of real estate. It doesn’t matter if you’re buying a home for the first time or fighting off a foreclosure; real estate law covering various transactions can make your head spin, and only a lawyer well-versed in the wide variety of fields it encompasses can help you protect your interests.
Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned and serious investor, you can be sure that having a real estate attorney by your side can make facing zoning problems and ordinances, ironing out kinks in contracts and lease agreements, staying on the right side of environmental issues, or dealing with just about any complex real estate issue so much easier.
Of course, for that to happen, you will need to find the best real estate attorney available. When interviewing candidates for the job, you will need to ask them the following questions:
1. How long have you been a real estate attorney?
It takes years for lawyers to master the many aspects of real estate law. More often than not, a real estate attorney who has been in the field for a long time presents a much better chance for you to get the best possible results for your case regardless of its complexity. They are more likely to get you off the hook in cases of foreclosure or spot nearly imperceptible provisions in contracts that could put you at a disadvantage.
Keep in mind, however, that the more experienced a real estate attorney is, the higher his or her rates would likely be. Which leads us right to…
2. How much do you charge for your services?
Always get this question out of the way at the onset so there would be no surprises at the end. Also, ask if the lawyer charges a flat fee or by the hour so you can make the appropriate arrangements.
3. Are you going to handle my case yourself, or are you delegating it?
When you’re hiring a lawyer known for his or her real estate law acumen, you will naturally assume that that attorney will be personally handling your case. Remember, however, that veteran attorneys typically have an entire staff of junior lawyers and paralegals, and it’s very likely that your case will be delegated to them.
Still, you can rest assured that your chosen attorney’s team should be able to handle your case expertly, or they wouldn’t be entrusted with the task at hand.
4. How will you approach my case?
Hearing about a lawyer’s reputation is one thing. Actually hearing that same attorney walk you through how he or she plans to handle your case is an entirely different story.
Real estate laws vary from state to state, and it would be absolutely a relief if you get a first-hand look at an attorney’s familiarity with those laws and the plan of action he or she is going to implement. Conversely, asking this question will also help you determine if a lawyer is actually a real estate law expert or just another law practitioner winging it (and there are plenty of them).
5. Can I ask for references?
No job interview (because that’s what it is: a job interview) will ever be complete without you asking for references. While it’s important for lawyers to be brilliant at what they do, it’s even more essential if they deliver quality service at all times.
Past clients can either vouch for a lawyer’s reputation or skewer it, so if an attorney willingly provides you references, then you just witnessed a supreme display of confidence, which is always a good thing for a lawyer.
These are just some of the questions you need to ask a real estate attorney before making a hiring decision. You can ask many more questions, and when you finally make your choice, always pick the one whose answers satisfied your requirements best.