Lawyers play essential roles in the real estate industry, where contracts, jurisdiction, legislation, and agents all need to be considered. A proficient lawyer can help you make optimal arrangements and spare you from the clutches of potential fraudsters and shady dealers in various ways. The trouble for most of us is that we don't know what separates a reliable lawyer from a subpar one.
In this piece, we'll be looking at what qualities you should expect from a good lawyer during the home buying process. Let's dive right in.
Qualifications and Experience
The first item on your checklist should be confirming that they are fully licensed lawyers in full-time practice within your state.
Familiarity with Local Legislation and Bureaucracy
An inherent provinciality comes with real estate law that runs much deeper than many realize. Real estate brokerage regulations and legislation often vary not only on a state-by-state basis but on a local area level.
County and city land governing agencies typically have leeway when determining the statutes governing their localities, so you need a seasoned operator in your corner. Your ideal lawyer will be intimately familiar with the local legal climate and have working relations with those involved in administering these regulations.
Sensible Fee Scheduling
A common source of friction between clients and lawyers is the wide variation in fees that they charge, which often makes clients feel they are being taken advantage of. In truth, there are various reasons why one lawyer’s fees will vary widely from that of another for what might seem like the same brief or task.
Aside from their legal training, the experience, local knowledge, and resources behind an attorney might class them many rungs above their learned fellows. An experienced lawyer might accomplish in an hour what a novice will struggle with for months. That’s why an hour of their time might cost much more than that of someone still learning the ropes.
Positive Track Record
While the diploma on a lawyer’s wall might never move an inch throughout their whole career, the success of their practice will rely heavily on momentum. Should matters come to a point whereby you need to make your appearance in court for trial, it will be prudent of you to charge your case to a lawyer with trial experience and a proven track record of success.
Their ratio of wins to losses will be the critical element of scrutiny. Your lawyer will be in that courtroom fighting for your best interests on your behalf - so it makes sense to select a representative that has proven their mettle in the past. Learn more about who is who in the homebuying process!
You might have heard it said that bringing a knife to a gunfight is a fatal mistake, but bringing a gun to a knife fight might be just as costly an error. Not all lawyers are made the same - while some might excel in bringing contesting parties to one accord, others are artists at extricating their clients from sticky deals and contracts. You’ll be wise to consider what type of lawyer will be best suited for your particular situation.
Real estate often relies on subtlety and tact for best results, so be careful not to shoot yourself in the foot by assigning your brief to a lawyer who doesn’t appreciate this reality. You might be placing yourself in the hands of an intentional rabble-rouser that only seeks to complicate your case to rack up legal fees at your expense.
Good Communication Skills
Although to a lesser degree, and perhaps less publicly, lawyers are expected to sing for their supper. Whether in writing or verbally, a lawyer’s stock-in-trade is their ability to outline cases on behalf of their clients in the most favorable light possible.
A lawyer who fails to communicate effectively with their client will undoubtedly fall short of presenting them to the fullest advantage when it matters most.
A good lawyer will make sure you understand all that pertains to your case, explaining the finer details in language that you are sure to understand rather than clouding issues with dense legal jargon.
They will present you with a clear game-plan for your case, with varying approaches for your consideration and risk assessments that will help you determine what course will best suit your objectives.
Prevention is better than cure, as the saying goes. Having a lawyer on hand as you move through the home buying process can save you plenty of time, money, and frustration down the line. They will be able to spot pitfalls that might be invisible to you and point out opportunities you might be blind to.
If you’re in the market as a property buyer or seller, be sure to give yourself the best chances for success and get a real estate specialist lawyer in your corner. Should matters come to a head, you’ll be glad that you did.