Building my RE Legal Team

5 Replies

I am a new real estate investor who is looking to build my team. I am having trouble getting lawyers to answer the phone or call me back. I want to identify my legal team before investing for the following reasons:

1. I want to start getting off market properties under contract and I need contracts.

2. I am looking at multifamily which means I will be inheriting tenants. I want a lawyer ready to go in case I have an issue and need to start eviction process. 

3. I want someone to help me come up with an iron clad lease agreement and be willing to defend it in court, if it comes to that. 

4. Estate planning as well, to make sure my investments are properly handled in case of my death. 

I am in the Canton, OH area if anyone knows any great lawyers that will return my phone call I would appreciate the referral. For those in different areas, is this normal?  Do I need to structure my message/emails better to elicit a response?

Do I need to get a legal team in place before I start investing in property, or am I premature? Part of me thinks the reason I am not getting call backs is because I identifying myself as a new investor and they aren't interested because I don't have any business for them at the moment.

Thanks!

Hi Shannon, I've been struggling with this for a while myself!  None of them call you back - and I've been at this for many years - so I don't think it's because you're a rookie.  I ended up compiling my own forms and learning what I can without any input, but that's taken a lot of hours over the years.  I recently signed up with one of these legal services companies, I won't name names at risk of being nailed by the moderators again.  They look at what I've done on my own to critique, but these services won't write the form for you.  I would say you need to strike out on your own and find some new names, unfortunately.  

Thoughts:

1. There's no such thing as an iron-clad lease agreement. Anything can be legislated in court. Your goal is to do the best you can by adopting language and positions that are legal, reasonable, and have judicial precedence. 

2. Since you are a Pro member, you have access to all the lease documents BP put together for all states. All of these lease documents were crafted and vetted by attorneys licensed to practice in the state to which it applies, so at a minimum you are already using a document that has been reviewed by counsel. 

3. To build on the above, my suggestion is to start with the BP lease, add or make changes that suit you, and then have those changes reviewed by a contract/RE attorney in your state. This is what I ultimately did; the BP leases were better than the one I had been using for years, so I customized them for my own situation.

The main thing you should take away is that a great lease is no guarantee that a court doesn't invalidate or alter its terms. So I wouldn't spend a lot of time or effort going beyond having some basic protection.

One more thing, Shannon - you should join up with our Stark County REIA, we have monthly events for all levels of investors. While we are a nonprofit, we have our ears to the ground locally, in Columbus, and all around the state on active legislative issues. You'll meet a lot of local connections that can assist with referrals and suggestions. Just google the name and you'll find our website (I'd post but think it's frowned upon).