Real Estate Attorney – Selecting a Lawyer

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When dealing with property, it’s always a good idea to seek the counsel of an experienced real estate attorney. But where does one begin? How can you determine the good from the bad? In this article, we will outline the steps necessary to choosing a quality lawyer.

To begin, you should make up a list of prospective options. Ask around to family and friends to see if they have any recommendations. Do an internet search and check out reviews from previous clients.

Once you have a good size list, take a few minutes to make sure that you are looking at the correct type of lawyer. Even in the real estate field, there are a number of specialties that set individual lawyers apart from one another.

Types of real estate law include:

1. Landlord / Tenant

2. Residential

3. Commercial

4. Agricultural

5. Industrial

Other types include construction and environmental law. It’s important to note that an expertise in one of these areas does not necessarily guarantee the same in another.

The next step is to effectively find out every detail you can pertaining to your list of candidates:

Check out the website. What is their expertise? Do they have any reviews?

1. What kind of experience do they have?

2. Do they represent consumers?

3. Take a look at the list of representative clients (if available). Does this lawyer work with businesses or individuals similar to you?

4. Ask around to see if they have a good reputation.

5. Ask about conflicts of interest. Does the lawyer represent any of your opposing parties?

Consider any special needs worth discussing. For example, could you benefit from an attorney who is fluent in a language other than English?

When you break it down, there are really only two types of real estate attorneys: those who handle contract matters (transactional), and those who handle lawsuits (litigators). There are some who do both, but more often than not, you’ve find those who specialize in one or the other. If you are involved in a lawsuit, you should find yourself a litigator, otherwise a transactions specialist my be your best option.

If your issue does not involve a lump sum of money, consider whether there may be other individuals with the same issues. If so, you may just be able to pool your funds together and hire the same lawyer.

By this point, you should have a fairly good idea of which option best suits your needs. Schedule a consultation so that you might discuss your situation and determine a game plan.

Hopefully, you now have yourself a better idea of what goes into hiring a real estate attorney.

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Ohio Real Estate Lawyers

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While Ohio real estate law does not require you to have a real estate lawyer, there are certain instances in which having a lawyer may be a good idea. When buying a property that has any common interest developments, it may be difficult for the average consumer to discern between parts of the property that are for one’s exclusive use versus parts that are for community use. Common interest developments, such as condominiums, may have ongoing litigation that may have an adverse effect on the future value of the property. A real estate lawyer can explain what the possible outcomes of ongoing litigation may be, so you can make an informed choice about whether you want to invest in the property. A real estate lawyer can also help ensure that the title to a property is good before a buyer closes on a sale.

Try and find a lawyer who is recommended by someone you trust, such as a friend or family member. Never choose a real estate lawyer simply based on the recommendation of your real estate agent. However, you may be able to find a lawyer who is also a licensed realtor.

You should ensure that the lawyer specializes in real estate law by checking with state and local bar associations and realtors’ associations. The American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL) website provides links to members by state, and has many members from Ohio.

Most lawyers will answer preliminary questions for free. Make a list of your questions and use this list to help you find a lawyer who you think will represent your interests in a competent and ethical manner. Before making a final decision, ask what the lawyer’s charges are. Some real estate lawyers will work on for a fixed fee in more straightforward cases.

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