Carol Staab
Associate Broker
Douglas Elliman
111 Fifth Avenue
New York , NY 10003

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How to Hire a Real Estate Attorney

Successful Guide to Selling Your Manhattan Home – Hiring the Right Real Estate Attorney

Hiring a Real Estate Attorney

When hiring a real estate attorney, look for someone who has your goals in mind.

Here Is What You Need To Know!

The role of a seller’s real estate attorney is to draft the contract, represent the seller during contract negotiations and as well as at the closing. It is very important to hire a very experienced local attorney whose specialty is co-op, condo and townhouse transactions. Get recommendations from your friends who have sold in Manhattan. Your real estate broker should also have a list of attorneys who he or she have worked with on transactions who are exceptional.

In general fees for real estate attorneys range from $1,500 to $2,500. Don’t base your decision on the fee. Base your decision on experience, skill level and responsiveness.

Questions to Ask a Real Estate Attorney Before You Hire

  • What areas of law do you practice? Best answer is real estate
  • How much experience do you have doing my kind of transaction?
  • Are you part of a practice group or solo practitioner ? A larger firm that has a group is better.
  • Will you handle my file and attend the close , or will a paralegal or junior associate?
  • Who handles the documents and how? Are rider changes made by you or a paralegal.
  • When will you not be available? IE religious holidays, vacations.
  • Do you charge at contract signing , or all up front?
  • Do you take a retainer? If yes under what circumstances is it refundable?
  • What is the response time to your questions? Slow ! Well that could lose you the deal!
  • How comfortable do you feel with this person? If you feel uncomfortable than you should listen to gut.

Don’t Hire a Deal Killer!

Finally you must be careful not to hire a real estate attorney who isn’t going to be a deal killer! It’s not the attorney’s job to kill the deal. It is the real estate attorney’s job to advise their client of the risks and benefits of each proposed course of action and then asked the client to make an informed choice. The real value of an attorney in a real estate transaction is to provide the client with the requisite know – how to make smart choices. There is no one size fits all answer that fits across the board. In every possible situation, a client’s decision should be modified based upon their unique circumstances once they are advised of and understand the risk.