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Real Estate Attorney: What They Do And If You Need One

Susan Kelly

Nov 28, 2023

Are you buying or selling a home? If so, hiring a real estate attorney can ensure the process goes smoothly. As intimidating as it may seem, enlisting an attorney’s help is beneficial during this often complicated transaction because of their knowledge and experience with property law.

Whether your situation requires legal counsel or not, understanding what a real estate attorney does and when they are necessary can go a long way in reducing your stress during this big decision.

In this blog post, we’ll break down the role of an attorney in the home buying/selling journey – from assisting with paperwork to guaranteeing all technicalities get met – so that you will know exactly when to call one.

What a real estate attorney does and why you might need one

A real estate attorney is a lawyer who specializes in property transactions, including the buying and selling of homes. They know all aspects of property law and can handle anything from reviewing contracts to mediating disputes between parties. Often, an attorney can help smooth out any legal issues during a transaction and ensure your rights are fully protected.

When you’re buying or selling a home, having a qualified attorney on hand is essential. An experienced professional can provide invaluable assistance throughout the process, such as:

Review contracts before signing

A licensed real estate attorney will read through documents carefully to ensure they comply with applicable laws and don't contain any hidden clauses that could disadvantage the buyer or seller.

Negotiate with other parties

Suppose there is a disagreement between the buyer and seller. In that case, a real estate attorney can help find beneficial solutions for all involved and reach an agreement that everyone is comfortable with.

Ensure compliance with regulations

Real estate lawyers are experts in local property laws and will ensure you comply with any applicable requirements when closing on a home. They can also guide zoning, building codes, taxes, and permits as needed.

Provide legal representation during disputes

An attorney can represent your interests in court if necessary. They may also settle disputes out of court without involving litigation. In either case, having an experienced advocate will help ensure you get the best outcome.

How to find the right real estate attorney for your needs

Finding a real estate attorney who is experienced and qualified for your specific needs will help ensure the best outcome during a transaction. Here are some tips to help you find the right person:

  • Ask for referrals from friends, family, or colleagues who have recently bought or sold a home.
  • Look for an attorney with experience in property law in the area where you’re buying or selling.
  • Read reviews online and check their ratings on legal websites like Avvo and LegalMatch.
  • Speak to multiple attorneys before deciding; ask them about their background and experience.
  • Ensure the lawyer is licensed to practice in your state and has no disciplinary complaints against them.

What does a real estate lawyer do?

A real estate attorney is a lawyer who specializes in property transactions and provides invaluable assistance during the home buying and selling process. They can review contracts, negotiate with other parties, ensure compliance with local regulations, and provide legal representation if necessary. Finding the right attorney for your needs will help ensure your rights are fully protected during this important transaction.

The different types of legal services a real estate attorney can provide

A real estate attorney can provide many legal services during a home buying or selling transaction, including reviewing contracts, negotiating with other parties, ensuring compliance with local regulations, and providing legal representation if necessary.

If applicable, they can also help in disputes between buyers and sellers and handle zoning issues, building codes, taxes, and permits.

Common mistakes made when selecting a real estate attorney

Selecting the wrong real estate attorney can seriously affect a home-buying or selling transaction. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when you’re looking for legal counsel:

Not researching enough

It is important to research attorneys to find one with the appropriate experience and credentials since they will be your advocate throughout this process. Take the time to read reviews online and speak to multiple lawyers before deciding who to work with.

Hiring someone without a license in the state

Ensure any lawyer you hire is licensed to practice in your state and has no disciplinary complaints against them. You should also ensure they know property laws about where you’re buying or selling.

Hiring someone who does not specialize in real estate law

A real estate attorney is equipped to handle the complexities of a home buying or selling transaction and ensure your rights are fully protected. Hiring a general practitioner can put you at risk since they may need to be able to provide the same level of expertise as an experienced property lawyer.

Not asking enough questions

It pays to ask plenty of questions before deciding which lawyer to hire and during the process. It would be best if you inquired about their experience, fees, availability, and timeline for completion. It is also useful to know how they will keep you informed throughout the transaction so that you remain in control every step of the way.

The importance of understanding all the paperwork before signing anything

Before signing anything, understanding all the paperwork involved in a home buying or selling transaction is important. A real estate attorney can help review contracts and explain legal terminology so you know exactly what you’re agreeing to.

They may also be able to negotiate better terms on your behalf and ensure that all documents are legally sound. Before signing, it is essential to have an experienced lawyer confirm that everything is in order.


Q: When should I hire an attorney for my real estate transaction?

A: It is advisable to consult with a real estate lawyer as soon as you decide to buy or sell the property. An attorney can advise you on your best course of action and provide valuable insight into complex legal matters related to the purchase or sale of your home.

Q: How much does it cost for an attorney to handle my real estate transaction?

A: The cost of hiring a real estate attorney varies depending on the services provided. Generally speaking, attorneys will charge an hourly rate for their services and may require a retainer fee upfront. Additionally, some firms may offer flat-rate fees for certain services such as contract review or title insurance.

Q: What are the benefits of working with an experienced real estate attorney?

A: A qualified real estate attorney can provide invaluable assistance during your home-buying or selling journey. They understand all aspects of property law and can ensure that all legal protocols are followed correctly throughout the transaction process. An attorney can also provide negotiating support if necessary, protecting you from any potential disputes that could arise in the future.


Hiring a real estate attorney is an important step in the home buying or selling process. An experienced lawyer can provide valuable insight and assistance during every transaction stage, ensuring your rights are protected, and all legal requirements are met. While it may require an upfront investment, the peace of mind that comes with having professional legal guidance should not be underestimated.

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