What Do You Look For In a RE Lawyer?

9 Replies

Investors out there, what are you looking for in a RE Attorney? What are must-haves and must-dos? What would turn you away? How did you find your current attorney (if you have one)? What does he or she do that you love, and what do you wish he or she did better?

Looking forward to your responses. Thanks!

I feel with attorneys an important factor is one that actually can make time for you and get your questions answered without always billing you by the minute.

This type of relationship is built up normally over the course of multiple transactions whether it be tenant evictions, drafting addenda, or putting out fires that normally arise in transaction.

But for me good communication is paramount. If they never have time for my questions then they don't have time for my business.

Darrell, great point. This is such a common complaint about attorneys. It's surprising to me that so many attorneys don't provide the common courtesy of a simple, quick response.

Familiarity with wholesaling and creative financing (seller caryying, wraparound mortgages...etc). I'd also add extensive knowledge of the effects of Dodd-Frank to that list,too

Why would do you need an attorney....As I've said before they are deal killers...In law school you learn the common law like the rule against perpetuity, easements, etc...Creative financing is simple and straight forward...To protect your ***...ets use an LLC for holding your real estate deals...and not a California LLC to expensive...LO's can solve the DF issues

There's plenty of escrow companies that know the ropes...

Lots of relevant experience, a good website, and a reasonable hourly rate which in my area is $200-$250.

Bill:

You might be surprised, but I don't actually disagree with you. (Except for the point about what you "learn" in law school. You don't learn much about anything other than how to think like an attorney, and that's only if you're lucky.) Most investors don't need an attorney for much, but some do find it useful to have somebody who's seen deals go terribly, terribly wrong, and warn them about those risks.

But as I always tell my clients, it's my job to tell you about all the risks and worst-case scenarios, it's your job to ignore me when appropriate and make the business decisions and accept the risk. Many just find it useful to be as informed as possible about those risks.

And, of course, if one finds themselves on the wrong end of a lawsuit, then it's good to have already built a relationship with a knowledgeable attorney.

A mustache.

Other than that, get an honest attorney who tells you when he is too busy to help you out until next week. A serious problem of attorneys is taking on too much work. Sometimes prices are high for some attorneys because they are trying to discourage more work.

I disagree somewhat with Bill above. An attorney's job is to warn you about kinda bad or really bad ideas. Its your job as an investor to decide if the deal is worth the risk. It is not uncommon for a deal to have income potential in direct relation to it's risk. It is completely different to be blind to a risk as compared to making a calculated risk.

Another thing to look for is an attorney who invests in real estate himself. As to knowing the Dodd/frank Act you will be surprised how few attorneys know about that. The ones who know it well, you had best be prepared to pay high prices, knowledge comes with a price tag.

Again barring that just look for a good mustache.

Whatever you do don't look for the kind of attorneys @Bill Jones has dealt with. LOL

The question is what do you want the attorney to do? I use several different attorneys depending on what I am doing, I have a bulldog litigator, a tax sale and general RE advice attorney; a landlord tenant/collections attorney,; and I have one who is dirt cheap but is vary good that I use for all kinds of stuff the others don't handle. I also have several attorneys I use for settlements.

I look for attorneys that are easy to work with, appreciate me as a client, and are good at what they do. I want attorney who are deal makers and can teach me how to use the law to my advantage. Although all the attorneys I work with a reasonably priced, that is my least concern.

I have 2 attorneys in 2 states that specialize in real estate, and one of them specializes in evictions. Both attorneys gave me lease templates; one said that since they'll be the ones defending the lease in court when (not if) there's an eviction, they know exactly what's in it. They know the eviction laws in this state and move very quickly.

And as @Darrell Hardy said, they don't bill for each particular question when one arises. They know when I have a closing or eviction or purchase, they'll get my business at full fee.

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