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Do I Need a Real Estate Attorney?

Ten Ways a Real Estate Lawyer Can Help You

A qualified real estate lawyer will know the best way to handle your transaction, considering the property, the economy, your goals, and more.

Updated: 2020-08-13 by

In California, real estate transactions are usually closed by professionals like agents and title companies, though sometimes you can handle simple transactions on your own. That said, hiring an experienced real estate lawyer can be well worth the investment. A good lawyer can help you protect your interests when leasing, buying, or selling property.

What Does a Real Estate Lawyer Do?

Among other things, a good real estate attorney can help you:

  1. Evaluate any offer you make or receive to be sure it is in your best interest.
  2. Help you draft or review a purchase contract or lease.
  3. Search to be sure there are no legal constraints -- for example, liens or easements -- that restrict the use of the property.
  4. Properly complete and file all legal documents necessary to finalize the transaction.
  5. Negotiate a mortgage.
  6. Understand the tax consequences of a real estate purchase or sale.
  7. Make sure title to the property is clear and arrange for title insurance.
  8. Resolve boundary disputes.
  9. Understand and handle any unforeseen or unusual issues that arise during a transaction, such as problems that arise upon inspection or plans to change the property in ways that may not be permissible.
  10. Stay objective. A good lawyer can help you stay calm make clear-minded decisions about any real estate transaction.

Find a Good Real Estate Lawyer

Like tax law, bankruptcy law, or employment law, real estate law is a specialty subject involving complex legal rules and procedures. Someone claiming to be a real estate lawyer should be able to point to experience and deep knowledge of real estate laws and practices in your state, county, and city.

For an experienced real estate lawyer, many aspects of real estate transactions are routine. Chances are good that an experienced lawyer has already handled a matter like yours. The lawyer you choose should be able to advise you on the best way to handle your transaction, given the economic framework in your area, the history and condition of the property, your individual goals, and more.

If you're going to hire a real estate lawyer, make sure you get a good one. Do your homework and comparison shop before you hire someone to represent you.