While price is obviously an important consideration when hiring a lawyer, it shouldn’t be the only aspect you value when entrusting a professional with your real estate matter.  Oftentimes, consumers are told that they ‘get what they pay for’. However, it’s less common to find any practical indicators on how to value a particular legal service provider.

Here’s our list of 3 essential qualities that you should look for when hiring a real estate lawyer.

1) Accessibility

Buying or selling a home is exciting as it is stressful.  The anticipation of getting the keys to your new place or the promise of getting your investment funds is sometimes offset by the unfamiliarity of what paperwork needs to be filled out.  A good lawyer should always be in tune with these client pressures and be able to manage client expectations throughout a real estate transaction in a timely and effective manner.

Unlike many other industries, real estate doesn’t operate on a typical ‘9 to 5’ work schedule.  Most buyers take property viewings during off-hours or on weekends. Likewise, sellers usually carve out time to deal with their listings outside of their day-to-day obligations.  It’s no wonder that so many real estate agents seem to be working 24/7!

One of the biggest complaints that many clients discuss is the responsiveness of their lawyers in a real estate transaction.  While some legal queries are dependent on other parties relaying information to the lawyer, a good lawyer should recognize the stress and unfamiliarity many clients have with the process of purchasing or selling a home.  As such, a good lawyer should implement flexible and responsive legal services to meet these demands such as:

  • Prompt response times to calls or emails (within 24 to 48 hours);
  • Setting out a timeline for a transaction;
  • Executing a client-lawyer to-do list/schedule;
  • Offering evening and weekend meeting times; and
  • Providing offsite meetings for an additional cost.

 

2) Presentation

Obviously, a lawyer’s knowledge on a given legal topic (in this case real estate) should be the paramount consideration.  Lawyers have trained for years through formal education as well as practical experience, in decoding complex legal concepts and managing the nuances of a purchase and sale.  What’s equally important however, is a lawyer’s ability to present that information in a digestible fashion.

A good lawyer should possess the ability to distill legal concepts and express them in simple language and relatable contexts.  Given that many of legal documents, forms and contracts change over the years, it is also important for a lawyer to practically explain why a client is signing certain documents.  Being able to convey knowledge to a client is one of the most invaluable skills a lawyer can cultivate. The willingness of a legal professional to pass on that knowledge to the consumer is not only appreciated but also empowering.

 

3) Curiosity

Many purchase and sale transactions follow a ‘typical’ pattern.  For many lawyers, real estate agents and mortgage professionals, there are certain checklists and protocols that are established so that a real estate deal can be streamlined accordingly.  However, while the vast majority of real estate deals may fall into familiar categories, each client and property have unique considerations that should be assessed.

A good real estate lawyer will spend a significant portion of their consultation meeting assessing whether the client’s goals and personal circumstances properly fit a given property and transaction.  Asking questions that are outside the box and finding creative solutions for personal concerns keeps a client informed that a lawyer has their best interests in mind and are creating opportunities to facilitate a deal above the standard ‘cookie cutter’ services of others.

 

Disclaimer: Information made available on this website in any form is for information purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to replace, legal advice. Contact Chris Chu Law to discuss a specific legal issue and please note that contacting Chris Chu Law, on its own, does not create a lawyer-client relationship.