The Five Questions To Ask Your Real Estate Attorney First

  1. How much do you charge?

This seems like a no-brainer, but I am surprised at how often people do not ask me during the introduction phone call.  There is no reason to be shy!  No one expects the attorney to work for free, but you need to know that the cost is within your budget.  Is it a flat fee or hourly? Hint: it should be a flat fee for a standard real estate buy or sell.  Does the attorney front costs to be reimbursed at the closing, or do you have to pay as you go?  Do not leave the cost as a mystery to be solved at the closing table, or you may end up feeling burned.

  1. Will I be dealing with you or your assistant?

Most attorneys who handle a high volume real estate practice will have a trusted assistant who will handle many important aspects of the transaction.  This person is most likely very competent, but importantly, they will not be a licensed attorney.  You want to know that you will have access to you attorney’s ear and advise, not the assistant’s, when you need it.  You do not want to be speaking directly to your attorney for the first time on the closing date!

  1. Do you have any client reviews/testimonials?

In this day and age of yelp and avvo, any modern business has customer reviews available for potential customers to see.  This is a great way to crowd source your due diligence before pulling the trigger on your attorney hire.  Like any other service you shop for, you want to know that other customers like the product!

  1. Do you have a website?

It is 2016, and every reputable business has a website.  Not only do you want to see that the attorney has a website, you want to see that it doesn’t look like the attorney’s teenage daughter programmed it!  Is it a placeholder website gathering dust in some corner of the Internet? Is there useful content? Has it been updated?  The law changes constantly, and a vibrant website with good content is an indication that the attorney is up to date and keeps current with the trends.

  1. What can I expect the process to look like?

No one like surprises, and a good real estate attorney will give you a clear and concise description of the whole process from contract to closing.  For example, my real estate guides provide the steps in the process for both buyers and sellers.  Although no one can predict the future, the attorney should be able to provide an overview of the process and identify some common issues the come up during the typical transaction.  By providing you with this important information, the attorney arms you with information you can use to prepare yourself for issues that may arise along the way.

What questions do you have for your real estate attorney.  Feel free to leave them in the comments, and I will provide answers.

As always, I also welcome you to contact me at 773-632-8330 or patrick@loftus-law.com with any questions.  I am honored by your referrals! See what my clients have to say about my responsive service and fantastic results right here.

7 thoughts on “The Five Questions To Ask Your Real Estate Attorney First

  1. That is good that a good real estate attorney will give you a clear and concise description of the whole process from contract to closing. I really need someone who will take me through step by step. The problem is I don’t know how to find a good real estate agent. If you ask your real estate attorney up front to tell you everything about your contract with them is that okay or should I wait for them to tell me without asking?

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    1. Patricia:

      Finding a good agent can be frustrating, especially if you have not bought or sold a home in awhile. My first suggestion would be to speak with your friends to see who had a good experience with an agent. Those tend to be the best kinds of referrals. You can also ask your real estate attorney for a referral. I work with a number of agents who I trust, and I like to match my clients with an agent who has expertise in their area and will be a good fit personality-wise. Please feel free to call or email me if you would like some names!

      As for your second question, I ALWAYS encourage my clients to ask all of their questions when they come to mind. Once of the best services I provide is some piece of mind as to what to expect throughout the process. I would hate to think that my clients are losing sleep over something I could provide some insight toward. I encourage you to ask all of the questions!

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  2. I think that tip two is very important. I know I would prefer to know that I can be in direct contact with the attorney instead of only the assistant. I would imagine that it would also help make sure that there are no miscommunications.

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  3. I am in the process of finding a real estate attorney. I like how you mentioned when hiring an attorney to ask them for any client reviews or testimonials. I think this is important because you can read to see if the attorney is right for me and my situation by the reviews from other clients. Thanks for the great questions to ask!

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  4. I love the tip you gave about making sure to ask who you will primarily be dealing with between your attorney or his or her assistant. Like you said, you want to know that you will have access to your attorney’s ear and advise when you need it! I’ve heard that some attorneys will only take on a certain number of cases at a time so that they can be completely available to their clients. That’s so awesome! I’ll have to keep this great info in mind as my wife and I begin the process of selling our home and we may need the services of a real estate lawyer!

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