Real Estate Law Firms

Real Estate Law Firms

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Real Estate Law Firms


A Short Introduction to Real Estate Law Firms

What is a real estate law firm?

Real estate law firms are useful tools for businesses and individual’s with special legal needs to acquire or lease property or negotiate the terms of a property’s maintenance. Most workers in these firms are primarily tasked with reading and drafting contracts, but some, especially those practicing in residential real estate, will have significant litigative experience.

What can a real estate law firm do?

Real estate law firms have many important functions in the worlds of commercial and residential property. The intricacies of both fields require their own separate specialized skill-sets since the world of zoning and governmental restrictions is quite apart from the world of landlord negotiations. 

Typical cases that commercial real estate law firms are hired for include:

• Evaluating zoning laws and obtaining the proper permits for construction;

• Handling environmental concerns and discussing them with the proper regulatory bodies;

• Negotiating contracts with construction crews for the building or refurbishing of property;

• Settling disputes between construction unions and property owners;

• Formulating tenant agreements so that the landlord is suitably protected from later legal obligations and law suits;

• Proofreading tenant agreements drafted by others;

• Removing tenants not acting as agreed upon under the leasing contract;

• Petitioning for proper licensing such as food and beverage or liquor licensing.

Typical cases that residential real estate law firms are hired for include:

• Assisting home buyers in understanding their purchaser’s contract;

• Executing the directions of the purchaser’s contract in transferring titles while insuring that clients are protected from any losses that stem from defects in the title;

• Clarifying the terms of a mortgage and making sure there are no secret rate hikes or hidden fees.

• Discovering whether any liens, easements, covenants, or similar ownership blocks are associated with a property that might ultimately curtail the ability to reside there;

• Preparing the deeds and power of attorney contracts required for the sale of a home;

• Transferring the insurance certificates and security deposits from one party to the other;

• Reviewing all documents requiring signature;

• Filing an administrative complaint or a lawsuit against a landlord or property maintainer.

How much will I pay my real estate law firm?

The tasks required of most real estate law firms are one-time only limited affairs, which makes them ideal candidates for flat fee charges. If you want a real estate law firm to draft a foolproof leasing agreement for you or to proofread a mortgage you are about to sign, you’ll likely be charged an agreed-upon amount at the outset of services, not at the end of services at an hourly fee. These charges usually range from $500 to $2,000, depending on the particular service requested and the reputation and prestige of the real estate law firm.

Hourly rates are more common with situations such as prolonged contract negotiation, especially with a union, which are too complex for a flat fee to appropriately represent the trouble that might be entailed. If you believe that the other party in a property contract acted in an improper manner or if you’ve been unfairly removed from a property that you’ve leased, legal redress might take the form of a months long trial, and for that, hourly fees are required.

Such hourly payments can quickly add up, especially for many in need of real estate law firms who make low-income. For these individuals, a pro bono real estate law firm may be able to assist you in reclaiming  your home with little or no fees. The American Bar Association has a listing by state of legal assistance organizations that can help. 

What should I learn about a real estate law firm I am considering hiring?

If you enter into an agreement with a firm that is unable to meet your needs, you will end up paying for it with legal fees and unfortunate court judgments for years afterward. Find out as much as possible about a real estate law firm before you sign a contract with them.

Unfortunately, this can be somewhat difficult because of how busy lawyers can be. You need to make an appointment with a real estate law firm and come prepared to discuss every point of interest relevant to your legal situation and their ability to help you. Here are a few questions that you should ask of any real estate law firm at that first consultation:

“Which lawyers will be assisting me with my needs?” — It is common practice at many real estate law firms to have partners meet with clients and then assign actual casework to new associates who are fresh out of law school. Other firms delegate specific tasks to different lawyers, so that one handles client relations while another drafts documents and another litigates. You want to know who will do what, and you should meet each lawyer to make sure you are comfortable with them.

 “What experience do you have with similar cases to mine?” — A real estate law firm can boast a board with the most stunning criminal law pedigree on the continent, but if they are not experienced real estate lawyers then some other firm else can likely do a better job. Even if they are a true estate law firm, recall that this is a broad field, and a person who specializes in suing landlords may not be the bets choice for negotiating with a labor union.

“What are your fees?” — You need to be sure to be prepared for all their charges before you agree to hire a real estate law firm. Ask if any auxiliary charges such as legal researching or per-document drafting will be charged.

“As any disciplinary action been taken against anyone in the firm?” — You need to be sure that you trust the people you are working with. After the consultation, check to see if your state’s bar association of Supreme Court offers disciplinary files on attorneys for public use, and make sure that no action has been taken against a member of the real estate law firm.

 

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