Choosing Your Real Estate Attorney

Posted by LeeAdmin on January 20, 2014
Attorney, real estate, Real Estate Attorney, Sabra Sasson

If you are in the market to purchase real estate, then you are probably going out regularly to visit property that is listed on the market.  You may have been looking for a while or you may have just started.

At some point during the process, when you find a place that you like, you will have to engage in negotiations – typically through a real estate agent who is representing the seller.  If you read my prior blog post about choosing your own real estate broker, you may be negotiating through one chosen by you, which is great.

Are you prepared for when an offer of yours is accepted? 

What I mean is that once your offer is accepted, the real estate broker will want you to move quickly into contract they will ask you for the name of your real estate attorney who will be representing you.  If you haven’t already chosen the attorney who will be representing you, then you are already “behind the eight ball” and if you take too long in deciding who to hire, you will probably feel rushed and pressured into finding somebody fast.

Choose the wrong real estate attorney and you could wind up unnecessarily risking your down payment or agreeing to contract provisions that don’t best protect you.  Be careful to choose a real estate attorney and not a generalist, a real estate attorney who practices in real estate law on a regular basis.  An experienced real estate attorney will represent your interest and help you to avoid unnecessary additional expenses. A real estate attorney will understand the real estate market and will understand what provisions you need in the contract.

So how can you get ahead of the eight ball?

You can choose your own attorney before an offer is ever placed on a property.  You can contact a few attorneys at the same time while you are shopping for a property. It doesn’t take too much time, but interviewing a few attorneys when you are not under pressure to select one will give you the time and the space to objectively choose one whom you like, someone who can answer your questions and whom you have pre-qualified to represent your best interest.

Why is it important to choose the “right” real estate attorney for you?

Your real estate attorney will be negotiating the most important aspect of your purchase – the Contract of Sale.  Get any of the provisions wrong and you are “stuck” with them to the end of the transaction.

I once received a telephone call from a buyer who was already represented by an attorney.  This buyer had “heard” that I was representing another prospective purchaser of another unit in the condominium building where they were also in contract to buy and they wanted a similar provision in their contract that I had negotiated into my clients’ contract.  Unfortunately, since they were already “in contract” – meaning that both they and they seller had already signed their Contract of Sale, it would be very difficult (impossible actually) to convince the seller at that time to amend the Contract of Sale to include a provision that would be very favorable to the buyer, and not to the seller.  And that buyer was “stuck” with the Contract that they had – for better or worse.

You see, sometimes contracts can be amended after they are signed by both parties, but as with any contract, the terms are negotiable until the contract is signed.  Once the agreement is signed by both sides, it is difficult to change the terms unless it would be beneficial to both parties.

As you can see, choosing an experience attorney is essential to your purchase.


BONUS:  I recently spoke at a workshop with a few panelists on this topic.   There was a lot of information shared during the workshop.  You’re invited to claim your free instant access to a clip of the presentation. You’ll hear about the biggest mistakes that buyers make and avoiding them when purchasing real estate in New York.  Brought to you by Sabra Sasson, Esq., a New York City attorney dedicated to helping you secure your purchase, your legal interests and getting you title and the keys to your new home.  Get instant access here.



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