When you need a real estate attorney, be sure to do your research. Don’t just hire an attorney because your friend or a relative sings the attorney’s praises. The referred attorney may be great in the practice area they helped your friend or relative in, but they may not have the experience needed for your case. In addition to researching the attorney’s knowledge, you should also make sure you get along with the lawyer and make sure they don't have bar complaints lodged against them.
Real estate is an encompassing practice area. It has many sub-practice areas, such as boundary disputes, buying and selling real estate, probate issues, easements, title issues and more. If you need legal advice for a boundary dispute, you need an attorney who has experience with boundary disputes. Another example: If you were left property by a loved one who died, the property needs to go through probate. You should retain a real estate attorney who has experience in probate law. If not, you might have to retain a real estate lawyer and a probate lawyer, which will cost you more money.
Once you determine the real estate lawyer has experience in cases like yours; you will need to check the attorney’s reputation. Always check the state’s bar website to make sure the attorney is in good standing. You may also check other sites for reviews, including peer reviews. Once you determine that the attorney is in good standing and handles your type of case, you are ready to schedule a consultation.
Once you schedule the consultation, gather any documents you have that are related to your case. You will also need to jot down several questions for the attorney. Some questions are to help you determine the attorney’s experience and how they interact with their clients. Questions might include:
How many cases like mine have you handled?
Of those, how many cases had a positive outcome?
What are the ways I can contact you? (The answer should be phone and email. Some attorneys even give out their cell phone numbers.)
What is your fee schedule? If the attorney charges a flat rate, be sure you understand what is included in that rate, whether it’s to negotiate your case or go to trial, if needed.
If the attorney charges by the hour, ask what the retainer is and how much they charge on behalf of their staff. For example, the attorney may charge $125 for work that a legal assistant does and $175 per hour for work that a paralegal does.
Review the attorney’s contract before you sign it.
Finally, if everything else is to your satisfaction, only retain the attorney if your personalities do not clash. When you retain someone you do not get along with, your case could suffer because of the differences between you, the lawyer, and the staff. If you do not have a personality clash, then you are ready to retain the attorney.