Some states require lawyers to participate in residential real estate transactions, especially at closing or settlement. Notice how I said, “some states require…’” not simply that you need a Localrealestatelawyers. The majority of states are known affectionately (by real estate lawyers) as, “non-attorney” states. In those states, conducting real estate closings is not considered the practice of law, so you are not required to have a real estate lawyer.
The rest of the country resides in either, “attorney” states or states that have mandated the participation of real estate lawyers either for the entire closing or for some parts of the closing. (The parts where you need a real estate lawyer are usually defined by the clear as mud description. “Those instances requiring the use of legal discretion and profound legal knowledge.”) Since choosing the right real estate lawyer can save you a lot of aggravation, you want someone who is:
Licensed and in good standing. Many states have web sites where you can look to see that the real estate lawyer you are considering is both licensed and in good standing.
Experienced. Word of mouth can be the best recommendation. If a friend or relative has been well served and satisfied with a real estate lawyer, chances are you will be also.
Real Estate Savvy. This is a specialized area. Just as every midwife might be capable of handling a simple birth, every lawyer might be capable of handling the so-called simple closing, (in California and other “non-attorney” states, people generally do not even use lawyers for residential transactions.) It would be nice, if at the beginning, you could know if yours will be one of those simple transactions. However, since most of us cannot see into the future, if you decide to hire a lawyer, you’ll want one well versed in real estate law and its peculiarities.
In your area. It is important that the real estate lawyer you hire be familiar with local rules and ordinances. As they can have an enormous impact on how smoothly your deal flows.
That you can work with. There is no point in hiring someone you either do not like or do not trust. What good does it do you if you cannot rely on the information she gives you or, just as bad, you cannot stand talking to that person? A real estate transaction is not brain surgery; there are plenty of good real estate lawyers who also have pleasant personalities. You do not want to hire someone that does not play well with others. Your lawyer will be dealing not only with you, but with your buyer. You want someone who will help get the job done while protecting you.