How NOT to Select a Real Estate Lawyer

If you will be purchasing or selling a home this year you will need a real estate lawyer for the legal work. There are a few things that you should look for when deciding on the attorney.

First, you should always employ the cheapest attorney you can find. That way, after spending hundreds of thousands on a home, you will be able to save a few dollars on the only person in the transaction whom owes a fiduciary duty to you and may be able to identify issues that can save you thousands of dollars in potential future costs if they are experienced and diligent. Penny-wise anybody?

Second, if you have a family member who is an attorney but does not regularly do real estate closings, especially if it is a coop or condo, they are definitely the one you want to represent you.  If you would ask your uncle, the proctologist, to deliver your baby since, “I trust him, he is a doctor and is generally familiar with the lower regions of the body anyway,” then hire this family member.  If you do though, you will find out what a real pain in the ass the home-buying process can be!

Third, make sure the attorney you use does not have a web site and is still faxing out contracts.  You don’t want your attorney “wasting time” with social media or this new fad called the “internet.” This type of attorney will also have her secretary or paralegal handling all of the paperwork and interactions with you.  You want someone who is so important and busy that they will not (or do not know how to) prepare any document themselves or take the time to speak with you on the phone.  However, don’t try to contact this attorney by cell phone (since they may have it but won’t use it) or after business hours.

Finally, you want a tough negotiator to protect your legal rights.  This type of an attorney is not able to think outside the box but is very capable of refusing every new request with the clever responses of “I have never seen this before” or “we never agree to this.” They will also be rightfully condescending to you by ignoring your input and telling you to trust them since they know what is best.

If the above are the types of attorneys you are comfortable with then you cannot be a client of mine.   My clients appreciate my 25 years of experience practicing real estate law.  My clients also like that I listen to their concerns; discuss the risks and then give them objective advice with practical solutions.  They also like that I respond by phone, text or email as soon as possible, including, in the evenings and over weekends.   If this is the type of real estate lawyer you like and you will be selling or purchasing a house, coop or condo in the Metropolitan New York area, please contact me. It would be my pleasure to work with you.

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