I am excited to be meeting with my real estate attorney this coming Monday for the first time.
He was referred to me by a networking connection. My father in law is an attorney as well. We did some checking and verified that he checks out.
All is well.
What are the questions that I should ask?
What should my expectations be?
Here is my position:
I want to work with an attorney that will help me create my legal entity per state laws and to draw up the necessary documents that are tailored to my business and the real estate transactions I am involved in.
As a new investor I am looking for someone who can help me navigate the legal aspects of real estate transactions. That means having a solid understanding of the work flow, documents needed, alternative steps to take if need be. Ultimately all of this will lead to a closed deal.
If you would like to provide the contact information for Seattle, WA based real estate attorneys I am open to them.
@Chris Stromdahl Good luck next week! Please let us know how it went.\
I'm really glad you posted this because I am in a similar predicamine and had a question for you...How much are you paying the lawyer for the consultation? I have no idea how much I should expect to pay for initial services, etc and do not want to get taken.
All the information the lawyer will give will be drawn out in multiple appointments so he can bill you. And all the information is out there for free in books and pamphlets at the King County library.
@Matt Gier Attorney that I use usually charges $295/hour. Since he is member of local REPS he charges fellow members $235. I believed I got 15 minutes free first time I saw them :)
@Chris Stromdahl I believe you should use attorney to solve a specific problem. So I would not just go to attorney and talk to him just to seek an advice on anything or on random questions from the forum. In my experience most attorney are very knowlegeble and will give you alot of information, sometimes even more then you need. Any questions that you ask they can go on for hours :) So my advise to you is be specific. If I have specific contract which you want him to review then ask them to review contract, etc... Be specific and focus on real stuff that you came there to solve.
Thank you so much for the input, everyone.
Justin and Vlad, I could not agree more. I am meeting with him to discuss the creation of an LLC and to begin the process of drawing up transaction documentation that is specific to my company and the real estate business I am interested in pursuing. He has been very open with me and came from a network connection. My father in law is an attorney as well. He checked into him. I do not plan on consulting with him on everything, but for my money the piece of mind is worth it.
The cost of creating an LLC is around $1200. Again, I checked with my father in law and this is in line with the market. If I remember correctly, he charges around $200/hour. I know that I can go to the Secretary of State, fill out an application, pay $115 dollars and walk away with an LLC. But I want my business built on a strong legal foundation.
@Chris Stromdahl In Washington State going to Secretary of State will cost you $230 for LLC, that's $180 + $50 for over counter fees, at least that is what I pay whenever I set up new one. And it works just fine for my rehabs.
Question is are you already making money in real estate? If not I suggest you not to focus on LLC, business cards, and other secondary items. Focus on marketing instead and start putting deals together. After you'll start making money and getting thought transactions then you can spend money for llc, fancy cards and what ever else your heart desire. But first things must be first and that is making money, otherwise everything is useless and you will be spending another $1200 with this attorney to close your LLC "properly" :)
I work with a real estate attorney and your situation sounds like it will produce quite a bit of billable hours. My suggestion would be to do as much research as you can to determine which legal entity would be best suited. Check out your state's website and begin drafting your own corporate documents. Most of the time, a quick internet search or even calling the state will give you answers that you need. Then bring your draft to your first meeting with the attorney and have him review it. You should be paying the attorney to offer his legal advice, not to do your paperwork.
Have you received the retainer agreement yet? If so, carefully review it so that you can begin to get an estimate of how your bill is calculated. Most attorneys, including the one that I work for, bill in either 10 or 15 minute increments. This can quickly add up if phone conversations and emails are billed at the same rate. I am not trying to dissuade you. I think attorneys are a necessity but you should be as prepared as possible.
The attorney that I am working with was recommended by a network connection and the credibility of his work has been verified by a BP Colleague. With regards to billable hours getting out of control, you are 100% right. I am a little concerned because I did not do a lot of vetting prior to talking with him. This is out of the ordinary for me. However, he was very upfront about the cost of his services and what all they encompassed. I was very direct in asking him what differentiated his services from my ability to apply for an LLC myself. I was comfortable with his answer.
As a result of your post, I called him today and asked if there was anyting that I could do ahead of time to shorten the meeting, he said no. I then asked him whether I would be billed for the time on Monday, he said no. He said the plan is for us to use the time to discuss my business further and to put an action plan into place. I will ask him about a retainer agreement at that time. I do not get the impression that I am going to be having to deal with a lot of up-selling.
The creation of this company is important to me and I want to make sure it is done correctly. I don't change my own oil, hem my own clothes, or make very good phad thai:) I pay people to do these things. They are the professionals and I benefit from there knowledge and experience.
Thanks again, especially for the retainer suggestion.
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