Not Kidding, Start Early – As soon as you start looking for a new home start looking for an attorney. Developing a relationship early in the process will ease any nerves once negotiations begin; you’ll know you have the right person representing your interests.
Ask Around – If you have any friends or family who have recently purchased a home see if they recommend their attorney. Otherwise go to your Agent for advice, they deal with real estate lawyers consistently and will have insight on who will best suit your needs.
Choose The Right Specialist – Real Estate is Real Estate, right? WRONG! There is a huge different between a Residential Attorney and a Commercial, research wisely …
Interviewing – Once you’ve done your homework ask for a face-to-face interview with your top three candidates (however, before committing to the interview see if you are being charged for the meeting). Do not be afraid to ask about their stats! How many closings do they do in a month? How long have they been in the game? Can they give you references? Before you leave the interview make sure they have answered these four “must asks:”
1.) How much do you charge for closing, and what are the additional fees? – Know exactly what you’re in store for so you can plan your financials accordingly.
2.) What happens if my transaction does not close? – I hate to say this, but deals fall through all the time. Find out if you’re still charged for services and what the attorney’s protocol is.
3.) Who will I be dealing with? - I have seen clients’ care less about whom they speak with at their lawyer’s office as long as the job gets done. I have also seen clients go off the deep end when they have only spoken to their attorney during the interview, and then again at closing. Figure out your preference quickly and be honest with yourself because the last thing anyone involved wants is to see you start World War III over who returned your phone call.
4.) Will you be acting as a settlement agent? - Usually a Title Company takes care of transferring ownership, but lawyers and civil law notaries can do this process as well. See if they will be handling things, or if they have a preferred Title Company and what the fees will be.
Chisel That In Stone – After you’ve settled on your Real Estate Attorney make sure everything you spoke about is in your retainer agreement. Do not sign anything unless you fully understand the terms.
Hopefully some of this helped! If you have any additional questions, or would like further advice please do not hesitate to contact us at The Home Shoppe. Have a wonderful Friday the 13th :)