As helpful as real estate agents are often, there are still areas where you would need help from more suitable professionals. Realtors may have the expertise in the field, but they are still not licensed to give legal advice. If you are in need of counsel and legal protection, hiring a real estate attorney is still the best course of action.
Whether it’s about mortgages and foreclosures or ironing out documents and anticipating probable financial liabilities, getting legal counsel from a specialized attorney is crucial in keeping you and your finances safe.
With that in mind, here are four tips that can help you choose the right real estate attorney.
Choose an actual real estate attorney.
Just like doctors, lawyers and attorneys also have specializations. You may know an attorney or two, but not all attorneys work in the same industry. If they’re not primarily focused on handling real estate cases, then they might prove to be less beneficial.
You should also take note of the word choice. The word attorney was written instead of a lawyer for an important reason. All attorneys are lawyers but not all lawyers are attorneys. Attorneys can and usually have had represented clients in legal proceedings because they have already passed the bar exam. So, when vetting a candidate for legal counsel, make sure you determine if that person’s an attorney or a lawyer.
Reinforce your decision with knowledge of the local law.
Getting a lawyer with a colorful experience is a given. But what people often fail to consider is the difference between experience and knowledge. They do not equate as the same thing. Experience and knowledge are crucial if you want to be successful in your endeavor.
People can have decorated resumés but fall short when it’s crunch time. Making sure that your counsel and possible representation knows all the nooks and crannies of your local real estate law is important. And the best way to do that is to know more about it yourself.
By spending at least a week doing your research, you’ll have enough information to know if your lawyer is competent. You’d also be able to protect yourself more against malicious intent. And at the very least, you’d acquire knowledge that would help you make a decision even without a lawyer.
Check their connections.
Checking a service provider’s online presence is now a norm. If a lawyer or a law firm has no online presence, it could mean that they’re too traditional, they’re new at the game, or they’re hiding things. All of which are red flags you should see from a distance.
You should also ask for references and check their acquaintances in other fields. You can assume that real estate lawyers who are also working as agents have more relevant experience than those who aren’t. Lawyers who have ties with bail bonds companies could also come in handy in case things go awry. And more importantly, if your lawyer has connections with the local government, it would mean an easier and smoother process.
Make sure your lawyer can communicate well.
Communication is one of the most essential parts of any personal and professional relationship. Knowing your potential lawyer’s manner of communication can help you visualize how the process will be.
When assessing a lawyer’s communication skills, four things must be done.
- Ask for their honest opinion regarding a legal or political topic that you know is in an ethically gray area. How they respond to you and your question can shed light on their values.
- Check how they interact with their staff. How they truly see clients can be seen by how they treat the employees under them. You want someone who would care about your well-being.
- Keep an eye for bold promises. Above all, you want your counsel to be honest. And no honest or good lawyer can guarantee a 100% positive outcome. Be wary of lawyers who promise big things. Because big and bold promises are usually caused by a lack of foresight, arrogance, and indifference.
- Assess how they communicate with their competitors. Though setting a meeting with your candidates together can be quite nerve-racking, how they respond will show a lot. You need legal counsel from someone who can stay stable and amicable especially under pressure. You also need a legal representative who can get the job done without having to go to court. That’s why seeing how they communicate against the people they compete with can show you how they work.
At the end of the day, you’d be choosing a person that you’d be working with for quite some time. If you feel uncomfortable working with someone then you should probably follow your gut. After all, you’re hiring an attorney to make your life easier.