All Things Real Estate: Be aware when hiring your attorney

All Things Real Estate: Be aware when hiring your attorney
Philip Raices

You did your search and traveled to a multitude of listings to find your next place to call home. Finally, after almost six months and 500-plus miles, you settled on your first home, a three-bedroom and 1 ½ bath place.

You went through and performed all of your negotiations, the haggling, stressful, and tense moments, treading lightly on eggshells, and doing whatever was necessary and required that you had to do (of course, legally, lol) to have an agreed and accepted price.

However, you’re somewhat happy but not ecstatic with your broker, as they weren’t really at the “top of their game” when it came to all the details and minutiae.  Then you ordered your inspection and had it completed.

In the meantime, you still haven’t hired an attorney and are asking your broker or salesperson for suggestions as well as getting recommendations from family and friends.

One of the very best places to check on those you are considering using is to go online and view their reviews and testimonials. This will be your best source for seeing what their current and previous clients experienced with the services that they provided.

You want to make sure that your attorney has never been convicted of stealing any escrow money.  I am sure some of you have read in the papers of some lawyers who have absconded with clients’ money and co-mingled it with their accounts to buy luxury cars, jewelry, vacations, and pay their bills.

I had a situation when I was in my late 20s involving the purchase of a building in Floral Park for my previous landscape design and professional lawn tree and shrub application business.

My attorney, who was referred to me by my real estate broker, I found out later on had never sent my downpayment and contract back to the seller’s attorney.  I ended up losing the property, but I was fortunate to at least get back all of our money.

The way in which I was able to accomplish this is a story for another day and column. We are in desperate times for some attorneys, who on the surface had been very professional and honest but decided for whatever reasons to steal clients’ money and were caught red-handed.

You should also speak to the choices that you have to find out their fees.  In this column, I will not provide an exact amount that attorneys charge. I do offer recommendations when my clients ask.

However, the price range that I have seen and experienced for a local lawyer can be as little as $850 up to $2,500 or possibly more for a Manhattan professional.

Some clients’ experiences were horror stories with the bargain basement types.  They will speak with you in the beginning, but then only let their paralegals handle your case during the process going forward and maybe not even see you at the closing.

So you must proceed with caution to narrow down your choices to the one who you will hire to be the most knowledgeable, transparent, and have the most expertise and communicate with you right through to the closing.

The best one will provide you the quality service that you deserve at the most reasonable and affordable fee or what I call the “biggest bang for your buck.” But keep in mind that you get what you pay for and “cheap is expensive and sometimes expensive is cheap” when all is said and done.

Before you hire your attorney, now is the time to ask questions and interview candidates, which most never do.  Unfortunately, you can experience some faux pas and embarrassing situations that have created stress that almost caused your sale to go south.

It wasn’t your choice to be in this situation. But circumstances arose that you didn’t know about or were not aware of due to your lack of knowledge because you are not an attorney and that is why you hired one.

These items, such as  survey issues, certificates of occupancy should have been carefully addressed before the closing.

Your legal representative is your responsible party for handling your transaction.  He or she must do their due diligence in crossing and dotting the T’s and I’s, to make certain that all information is accurately derived appropriately and that no rock is left unturned.  In the end, your closing should be a happy and stress-free event.

From my personal experiences, I know that the majority of attorneys represent their clients in the most professional and expert fashion.

If you purchasing an HOA, condo or co-op, you must be sure that who you hire has sufficient experience and knowledge in executing these types of sales as they are handled much differently than residential property.

Don’t just hire anyone on a whim because of a referral or recommendation. As I have conveyed to you, be prepared and do your due diligence with the most careful research in becoming a Sherlock Holmes.

This will benefit you, in being cognizant of who will be your best representative.  You must always remember that you are spending a lot of your or your family’s hard-earned dollars when purchasing your home.

It is the most valuable asset in building long-term wealth that the majority of people will own in their lifetimes.

Your job is to keep as much money in your pocket as possible.  But realize that everyone needs to earn a living, so hire the best attorney that you can, that you will have excellent rapport with and hopefully a long-term relationship when it comes to legal matters.

Philip A. Raices is the owner/Broker of Turn Key Real Estate at 3 Grace Ave Suite 180 in Great Neck.  For a 15-minute consultation, value analysis of your home, or to answer any of your questions or concerns he can be reached by cell: (516) 647-4289 or by email: [email protected] or via https://WWW.Li-RealEstate.Com  My New Electronic signature/Bio/Reviews to save to your Cell/PC contacts:

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