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You Need a Good Real Estate Attorney - Here's 8 Things to Consider

real estate law

In a competitive or not, there are so many factors that could contribute to a real estate deal falling through. Be proactive and have all your ducks in a row so you vastly decrease the odds of a deal falling through. 

One crucial component of the real estate transaction is the attorney. An excellent real estate attorney can make the deal process that much easier and enjoyable while a bad attorney can be a complete deal killer. Thus, you need a a good real estate attorney. We've outlined 8 things to keep top of mind when it comes to attorneys and real estate transactions. Remember, if you do not have a preferred attorney, your real estate agent will be able to refer you to some of the best with which they work often. Get quotes from 3 or 4 to make your ultimate decision. 


1. Find an attorney that deals exclusively with the NYC market

Because the NYC market is so unique compared to other markets, it is important to select an attorney that deals exclusively with the market to ensure he or she understands all the nuances. This excludes attorneys who do most of their work in Long Island, NJ, etc.

2. Find an attorney that deals exclusively with real estate

This excludes personal injury attorneys, patent attorneys, etc. Furthermore, if you're buying a co-op, try to find one that specializes in co-ops as they are a property unique to New York City. Likewise, for condo purchases look for attorneys that have an accomplished track record with condo purchases. Some attorneys can easily facilitate both. 

3. Find an attorney that is comfortable operating in a modern environment

Business moves at a rapid pace thanks to technology. Your clients will expect the same. Snail mail, hand deliveries, etc are not effective anymore and will hold up an entire deal.

4. Find an attorney that has time to work on your transaction

One who does the work part time, or is perpetually on vacation, etc, can kill deals, and it is not in your best interest to hire them. 

5. Do not be cheap with the attorney

You will get what you pay for. The negotiation of the contract and the filing of paperwork with the government is the most important part of legitimate and full ownership of real estate. 

6. Unless the attorney meets the above criteria, do not give your transactions to family members or friends

7. Timely Execution

A good seller's attorney should draft a standard contract within one to two business days.  The buyer's attorney should be able to complete the due diligence and add any comments within another three to four business days. Ideally, this full negotiation should not take longer than a week.

8. A good attorney maintains focus of all parties

A good attorney should be able to keep the client calm and focused on completing the transaction. They should be able to use judgment on what is, and is not, significant if a problem arises with the unit/walkthrough/etc - i.e. not closing because of a leaky faucet, etc.