Finding the right real estate attorney can be just as important as finding the home of your dreams. NY1's Jill Urban filed the following report.
So you found the home of your dreams, made an offer, and now you need to find a real estate attorney to get the deal done. Many people don’t realize how important it is to find the right one.
"A lawyer is not a toaster. Some folks think that all legal services are the same just rendered at different prices points. Nothing could be farther from the truth. For most people, purchasing a home or apartment is the biggest transaction of their life and they should have the best legal representation hey can afford under the circumstances," explains CoopandCondo.com Founder Ron Gitter.
Gitter says it's best to go with recommendations, but you need to do some research to verify the attorney’s background. You can do this by going online to a firm's website, the lawyer's blog or even a referral service like Martindale Hubbell. But he says be careful if the recommendation comes from the seller's broker.
While many attorneys can handle cases in multiple locations, Gitter suggests finding one who has experience in the area where the property is located. Once you find a few, interview the candidates.
"Ask the attorney about his or her background and experience in whether they handle those kinds of real estate transactions regularly," explains Gitter. "Find out whether or not the attorney will be handling the file of whether the matter's gonna be referred to an associate in the firm. Take the time to have the attorney explain the transaction to you and see whether or not you are comfortable with the attorney's approach and whether or not you have a rapport with the attorney."
Also, make sure there are no conflicts of interest and that the attorney doesn’t have connections to the other side. If you are a first time home buyer, try finding an attorney who is enthusiastic about educating you about the process and one who be available when needed.
"Make sure that you have a lawyer who intends to practice law, and not process law," recommends Gitter. "If you get that queasy, assembly line feeling, you're better off going in another direction. Here's a good rule of thumb: if your attorney is not responsive from the first phone call, it's probably gonna get worse, and it will never get better."
Lastly, it’s probably a good idea to find the attorney before you start looking for a home so you won't be in a scramble once an offer is on the table.