Realtor Lawyer: FAQ When Hiring A Real Estate Attorney

Real estate transactions are often tricky to navigate because they’re so complex. Aside from dealing with high-value assets, you also need to understand the legalities involved in the process. Without knowing the laws and regulations, you potentially run into complications down the line. 

This is where seeking legal counsel can be a great help. Though it’s optional in California, hiring a real estate attorney to represent and assist you protects your interests and ensures compliance with the law. Here’s a guide with common questions about hiring real estate lawyers to help you make an informed decision. 

What Does a Real Estate Attorney Do?

Real estate attorneys specialize in handling the legal side of real property transactions. Aside from home purchases and sales, they also help clients with matters related to land, commercial buildings, retail stores, and similar spaces. More specifically, a real estate lawyer manages key responsibilities like:

  • Drafting and reviewing contracts 
  • Conducting title searches 
  • Negotiating real estate deals 
  • Writing title insurance policies
  • Facilitating the closing process
  • Representing clients in real estate litigation 

Questions to Ask When You Hire A Real Estate Lawyer

If you’re planning to hire a real estate lawyer, it’s essential to take some time vetting different lawyers. Start by researching lawyers within your state, then once you’ve narrowed down your list, meet up with each of them. To help you decide who will be the best fit, here are questions you can ask during your initial consultation. 

How long have you been practicing law? 

It’s always good to learn more about a lawyer’s background. Ideally, you should work with someone with years of experience, especially when dealing with complex transactions. Knowing how long they’ve been practicing gives you an idea of their experience. You should also ask the lawyer if they specialize in real estate law.

Can you provide references?

References give you valuable insight into a lawyer’s work ethic, personality, and professionalism. By speaking with people they’ve worked with in the past, you get a better idea of their strengths, skills, and even possible problems to watch out for. Generally, reputable lawyers should have no problem providing references—if so, this is a good sign of their confidence in their capabilities. 

Have you handled similar cases to mine? 

Every real estate transaction works differently, so it’s best to work with a lawyer who has handled similar cases as yours. While you can’t ask for confidential details, you can ask them what strategies they’ve used and how they plan to tackle your case. Doing so will help you gauge how well the lawyer knows your case and whether they can give you a concrete plan.

What is your fee structure? 

Knowing a lawyer’s rates and fee structure upfront can prevent misunderstandings and surprises. Some lawyers charge hourly while others charge a flat fee, so you should clarify this early to factor in your budget. At this point, it’ll also be good to ask if the costs are negotiable to see if they have any flexibility with pricing. 

While price is an important factor to consider in your decision, it shouldn’t be your only criterion. You usually get your money’s worth for legal services, so weighing the cost against quality is critical to ensure you’re getting the best value. 

Who will be working on my case? 

In most real estate transactions, it won’t just be your attorney working on the case. They usually assign some work to paralegals and junior attorneys, so don’t hesitate to ask who will be involved in your case. As much as possible, you should meet the whole team beforehand to establish trust and determine whether you have a good rapport. This way, you’ll feel comfortable working with them when the time comes. 

What potential challenges do you foresee in this case?

While consulting different lawyers, it helps to discuss an overview of your case to hear each of their thoughts. Part of this includes asking about challenges they foresee in your case and how they plan to handle them. This is a great way to assess how knowledgeable and experienced a lawyer is in navigating challenges to ensure they can address any possible issues.

Should You Hire a Real Estate Attorney?

Legally speaking, California doesn’t require hiring a real estate attorney to represent you in your transactions. Of course, consulting a professional for these matters is always recommended since you’re dealing with a considerable investment. However, strictly speaking, deciding if you should hire a real estate attorney depends on the complexity of your transaction and how well you understand the requirements or process. 

For example, if you’ve purchased a home before and plan to buy another one, you might be able to handle it yourself. But in other cases, hiring an attorney to explain the relevant laws and assist you with the legal steps will be more helpful. Examples of these situations include:

  • Leasing of property to tenants
  • First-time purchase or sale of a property
  • Purchase of property with physical damage
  • Sale of property on behalf of a deceased relative
  • Litigations that arise during the purchase or sale of property
  • Problems with titles or disclosures
  • Large commercial real estate transactions 

Find the Right Lawyer to Deal with your Real Estate Legal Matters

Real estate transactions can be stressful, especially if you aren’t familiar with the law or legal processes. While hiring a real estate lawyer sounds like an additional expense, you’ll likely spend more in the long run if you commit mistakes or get caught in a legal dispute. So to ensure a smooth process and avoid complications, it’s best to seek help from an expert to represent you in your case. 


Navigating the intricate maze of news with precision, Jason strikes with clarity and depth. On, he distills the essence of current events, offering readers a sleek, informed perspective.

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