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9 Questions To Ask Your Real Estate Lawyer

Author Yuriy Moshes

Do I need a real estate lawyer (sometimes referred to as a realtor lawyer)? When dealing with real estate, whether it’s purchasing or selling, having a real estate attorney is a must. Not only is a real estate attorney familiar with the steps involved in the process, but will be familiar with the New York laws involved and can advise you while steering you in the right direction to best accomplish your goals.

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In this article, we shall address the following:

  1. Do I need a real estate attorney?;
  2. When to hire a real estate attorney;
  3. Do you need an attorney to buy a house?;
  4. The process of hiring an attorney; and
  5. Questions to ask an attorney.

What Do Real Estate Lawyers Do?

One of the key roles a real estate lawyer plays is that of document drafter. Real estate attorneys prepare deeds for conveyance transactions, leases and rental agreements, purchase contracts and financing agreements. Although New York state law allows real estate agents to help clients fill out these types of documents, only licensed lawyers can actually draft and revise those documents.

A real estate attorney may:

Negotiate Transactions

Since real estate lawyers have experience and a background with many types of real estate transactions, clients often ask their real estate lawyer to negotiate the terms and conditions of real estate deals. This then involves working with other attorneys, developers, brokers and investors.

Review Sales Transactions

Real estate attorneys also review and provide advice on real estate transactions for both commercial and residential real estate. Clients will negotiate their deals, sign a contract and then ask the lawyer to perform the “due diligence” on the deal.

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This means the lawyer will examine legal title issues, environmental issues and reports and any of the contracts or other documents involved in the transaction. Real estate lawyers have the training that allows them to spot problems that their clients do not recognize. This then allows the real estate lawyer to act as guardian for their clients to make sure the clients don’t end up in any legal pitfalls.

Litigation

Should the real estate transactions not work out, pending litigation is usually the end result. Real estate lawyers represent their clients in real estate litigation. This includes drafting legal pleadings to file with the judge, participating in hearings and trial with the judge, and filing appeals if necessary. It also includes negotiating with opposing counsel to try and work out settlement agreements.

Foreclosure Proceedings

Some real estate attorneys specialize in mortgage and trust deed foreclosure. The lawyers representing lenders help guide lenders correctly through the foreclosure process, which may include filing a lawsuit in court.

On the other hand, real estate attorneys representing borrowers oppose the foreclosing lender by challenging any mistakes made in the foreclosure process, and by negotiating with the lender for a settlement agreement to stop the foreclosure process.

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Hiring an experienced real estate attorney is a must anytime real estate is involved. Real estate transactions are complicated matters and only the most skilled attorneys should be involved.

Do You Need an Attorney to Buy a House?

Yes, when making a major real property purchase, even if you have a real estate agent, buyers should ensure that the property is in ideal shape, and also demand a full home inspection, so as to determine if there are any hidden defects. Not only can an attorney work with the home inspector to ensure the property meets the buyers’ expectations, but the attorney can help negotiate with the seller if any issues arise.

If you are interested in purchasing a home, before you submit an offer, you’ll definitely want to consult a real estate attorney so they can draft it properly in writing. Failure to do so may result in your offer being rejected because it wasn’t communicated properly, or worse yet, being accepted and since your offer wasn’t drafted properly, you’re negatively impacted.

Upon acceptance of buyer’s offer, it is customary for the seller’s attorney to prepare the Contract of Sale. The job of the Buyer’s attorney then is to review the contract in detail and make sure that it’s safe to sign for the buyer and make the necessary changes.

In addition, high-end real estate may be subject to several liens, encumbrances, or judgments. A proper title search and an experienced real estate lawyer is the best way to ensure that these issues do not pass to the buyer on settlement day.

How Much is a Real Estate Attorney

It depends upon the experience of the real estate attorney and the type of matter you have. Drafting a quit claim deed will be different from searching a property to determine if it is free and clear of any liens or encumbrances and that it is of good title. Accordingly, the more complicated the matter is and the more experienced the attorney, the higher the fee and cost will be.

What is the cost of a real estate attorney for closing? Although real estate attorney fees vary, with some charging by the hour, while others charge flat fees.

Accordingly, when hiring an attorney, make sure you are aware of all of the costs up front.

Questions to Ask a Lawyer in an Interview

Need a real estate lawyer? Finding a real estate attorney or hiring a real estate attorney is very important. Just because a lawyer says they are a real estate attorney, does not mean that they are competent enough to accomplish what you need. You’ll need a real estate lawyer familiar with compound interest, annual interest rate, home sales, different real estate legal issues, and who can provide sound legal advice. Accordingly, before you hire an attorney and enter into an attorney client relationship, you need to ask an attorney a question so that they can provide you real estate law questions and answers. Below are what questions to ask an attorney, particularly questions to ask when selling commercial property or when you’re looking for a lawyer for a real estate purchase. The following are questions to ask when hiring a lawyer:

  1. How long have you been practicing law?
  2. What are your specialties within real estate law? What types of cases have you handled?
  3. How many cases have you represented that were similar to mine?
  4. Do they have references?
  5. What is your fee structure and billing process?
  6. How will you let me know what’s happening with my case?
  7. What are the risks if the case does fail?
  8. What is the likely outcome in my case?
  9. Are there other ways for solving my legal problem?
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At the Law Office of Yuriy Moshes we are experienced and knowledgeable and are one of the top real estate law firms NYC because we keep up-to-date with the NY real estate law. We represent both buyers and sellers in the greater New York City area including all its boroughs, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island) as well as Northern New Jersey, Long Island, and Upstate New York.

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