What Makes a Good Real Estate Lawyer?

Posted on February 19, 2022


Navigating the real estate market successfully often requires more assistance than a good real estate agent can offer. It’s sometimes necessary to work with a real estate lawyer who can help you navigate the legal challenges your real estate transaction presents. Some issues can lead to real estate litigation, and some transactions pose complex questions that only an experienced attorney can answer. If you believe you need legal counsel from an experienced real estate lawyer in the near future, it’s vital to know what makes a good real estate lawyer and how to find one to represent you.

Why Would I Need a Real Estate Lawyer?

It’s common for real estate transactions to seem straightforward at first, only for the parties involved to quickly realize that they face more complex issues than they originally expected. Whether you’re buying or selling a home, investing in commercial property, or relocating to a new area, the local real estate market is likely to pose challenges you’re not equipped to address on your own. If you want to complete your real estate transaction legally and with confidence, you need to secure legal counsel you can trust.

While real estate agents are responsible for helping their clients make informed decisions in their real estate transactions, there are some situations in which you cannot rely entirely on your real estate agent’s advice. They may be compelled to omit important details due to their professional requirements, and they may not know how to explain certain legal challenges a transaction could pose to the parties involved.

A real estate lawyer can effectively fill in these gaps, helping their client make a more confident decision with their transaction. Real estate attorneys specialize in helping their clients resolve their real estate transactions effectively. They can uncover potential challenges in the earliest stages of a transaction and help their client make informed decisions as the case unfolds.

How to Evaluate a Real Estate Lawyer

If you want to take full advantage of the benefits that legal representation can offer in your impending real estate transaction, you need to know the qualities you must evaluate when choosing a real estate attorney. The right attorney can have a tremendous positive impact on your experience with your transaction, helping you save money when possible and ensuring you make a fully informed decision:

  • Professional credentials. The American Bar Association maintains a robust database containing directories of attorneys across the country. Take time to research a potential lawyer and use online resources to verify their credentials and qualifications. You should check an attorneys’ accreditation and any special certifications they have earned, and you should also verify they have not been subject to disciplinary action in the past.
  • Experience. How long has the attorney been practicing real estate law? While many new attorneys are talented, enthusiastic, and eager to help their clients with difficult real estate transactions, there is no substitute for solid experience. Before agreeing to a real estate lawyer’s representation, make sure they have significant experience handling cases like yours.
  • Availability and responsiveness. Real estate transactions are often complex processes, and you need to have legal counsel you can rely on to provide ongoing support and guidance. Find out what a potential attorney’s caseload looks like and how much time they can dedicate to handling your case. You should also verify how you can get in touch with your attorney and how often to expect updates on your transaction’s progress.
  • Communication skills. The real estate transaction you’re preparing to face could be a life-changing experience. When you meet with a potential attorney, do they seem interested and respectful toward your stated goals and needs? A good real estate lawyer should be able to quickly identify the challenges and opportunities a potential client faces and help the client address these issues effectively.
  • Market familiarity. Every real estate market is unique, and you need an attorney who has experience specifically dealing with the market in which your transaction will unfold. For example, if you’re buying or selling real estate in New York City, the area is one of the most volatile real estate markets in the country. You need a real estate lawyer who has been immersed in the local real estate market for many years. They should hold a keen understanding of the market trends and local legal issues that are most likely to influence your case.

Many attorneys who offer representation for real estate transactions offer potential clients low-cost or free initial consultations. Taking advantage of consultation offers is a great way to interview potential attorneys and find the right one for you. During your consultation, ask the potential attorney questions to help you evaluate the aforementioned criteria, and think of additional questions specific to your situation.

Factors That Affect Attorney Fees in NYC

The complexity of real estate transactions is variable and can be a factor in the attorney fees you will need to pay at closing. For pre-existing condominium units, co-ops, or homes, the attorney fees can be as straightforward as the transaction itself. Buying a property with cash is simpler since there are fewer documents for the attorney to review and this can make the attorney fees significantly lower.

However, for purchases such as a luxury new development, buying through a corporate structure, purchasing distressed properties, or properties that have title issues, the cost of the legal fees can be higher. This is because of the additional level of complexity that the lawyer may have to review or handle. 

Most real estate attorneys do not charge an hourly fee. Most charge a one transaction fee, half paid at hiring and half upon closing. Buyers are often reluctant to have a lawyer present early to answer questions regarding a possible purchase. However, it is important to have the skilled advice of a legal professional from the beginning of a transaction.

Although you can get a cheaper price working with an attorney individually or in a non-specialist firm, it may take longer to prepare documents or receive a callback. When deciding which firm or attorney to hire, make sure you consider the cost of the service and the quality you want. This is especially important for complex or time-sensitive transactions.

The real estate lawyer fees NYC buyers have to pay are one of the smallest closing costs associated with an NYC purchase.  Avenue Law Firm may be able to help you understand what costs you will have to prepare during closing. Call us today to schedule a consultation.

What to Expect from Your Real Estate Lawyer

Finding the right attorney to help you with your real estate transaction offers several substantial benefits. First, you will have experienced assistance in conducting your due diligence, helping you avoid unexpected surprises and streamlining your entire transaction. You can rely on your legal team to help you thoroughly research the property you’re planning to buy or gathering documentation you need to produce to sell your property.

If you’re purchasing real estate as an investment, your legal team will help you uncover any legal issues that might interfere with your plans, such as liens from previous owners and zoning conflicts. You can also depend on your real estate attorney to help you through closing, contract review, and many other components of your transaction. Consider your choice to hire a real estate lawyer as an investment into the success of your transaction that allows you to approach the situation with confidence and reassurance.

Ultimately, the right real estate attorney can help you approach your transaction with peace of mind and confidence. The Avenue Law Firm has years of experience guiding clients through difficult real estate transactions in New York City, and we can apply our experiences to your case. If you’re ready to discuss legal representation for an upcoming real estate transaction of any kind in New York City, contact the Avenue Law Firm to schedule your consultation with our team.

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