What Is a Real Estate Attorney? Buying a home is probably the biggest investment you’ll ever make. In addition to hiring a real estate agent to help negotiate the transaction, you might consider hiring a real estate lawyer to guide you through the legal process. Real estate attorneys specialize in matters related to property, from transactions to handling disputes between parties.

What Is a Real Estate Attorney?
What Is a Real Estate Attorney?

A real estate attorney’s role is to ensure the legal transfer of property from seller to buyer. These attorneys handle tasks like preparing or reviewing documents, ensuring that the title is clear, and facilitating the transfer of funds.

What Is a Real Estate Attorney?

A real estate lawyer’s exact duties will vary depending on whether you, the seller, or the lender hire them, what your state laws require, and what’s needed for your home purchase to proceed smoothly.

Who Is a Real Estate Attorney?

Like any lawyer, a real estate attorney has a law degree and has passed the state bar exam for the state in which they practice. As real estate specialists, they have the knowledge and experience to advise buyers, sellers, and lenders in all types of real estate transactions. They prepare and review documents and contracts related to the sale or purchase of a property.

Real estate attorneys often take elective courses and even serve as interns in real estate law practices. Some choose to be certified in real estate law, but it’s not a requirement.

Questions To Ask When Looking for A Real Estate Attorney

Ask for referrals from family, friends, or coworkers, or ask your real estate agent for a recommendation. You could also contact your state bar association or a local title company, or do a simple Google search. Screen at least a few real estate attorney candidates carefully with the following questions:

. Are you experienced in this type of real estate transaction?

. Are you a member of the real estate section of your local bar association?

. What is your availability? Are you available on weekends (generally when the buyer is house-hunting)?

. How much do you charge, and is this a flat fee or hourly rate?

. How many real estate deals have you closed in the past year?

. Which title insurance company are you authorized to represent?

. Are you on the approved attorney list for closing loans for several large banks?

. Is there a difference in what you charge for an all-cash transaction versus a financed transaction?

Legal Professionals Involved in A Real Estate Transaction

There may be multiple legal professionals involved in a real estate transaction. Here is their distinction:

. Lawyers who represent the interests of buyers or sellers are called Real Estate Attorneys. The job of a real estate attorney is to advise their client to ensure that their interests are represented in the best possible way.

. Real estate attorneys retained by lenders are called Mortgage Lawyers or Lending Attorneys.

. Those who only perform closing duties on a real estate transaction are known as Closing Attorneys and do not represent buyers or sellers, even if one of them pays for the service provided. In many cases, the closing attorney is also the lender’s mortgage lawyer.

What Do Real Estate Attorneys Do?

Real estate attorneys have many duties, including:

Environmental Issues

A real estate lawyer also advises clients on environmental concerns related to real estate transactions, such as contamination, remediation, and compliance with environmental laws.

Financing Options

A real estate lawyer helps clients understand their financing options and assets by obtaining financing for real estate transactions.

Legal Representation

A real estate lawyer provides legal representation to clients in various real estate transactions, including buying, selling, leasing, or transferring property.

Contract Review and Drafting

A real estate lawyer reviews and drafts contracts related to real estate transactions, such as purchase agreements, leases, and financing agreements.

Risk Assessment

A real estate lawyer assesses the risks involved in a real estate transaction and guides clients on how to mitigate those risks.

Land Use and Zoning

A real estate lawyer assists clients in obtaining necessary permits and approvals for land use and zoning issues, such as variances or rezoning.

Title Examination

A real estate lawyer examines the title to a property to ensure that the seller has a legal right to sell it and that there are no outstanding liens or other encumbrances.

Closing Process

A real estate lawyer oversees the closing process, ensuring that all necessary documents are signed and that funds are transferred.

Skills And Qualifications for Real Estate Attorneys

Working as a real estate attorney can require a strong mix of technical legal skills and transferable soft skills. Here are some examples:

  • Attention To Ethics

A real estate attorney maintains high ethical standards and adheres to professional codes of conduct when representing clients in real estate transactions.

Communication Skills

A real estate attorney typically has excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, to effectively communicate and negotiate with clients, colleagues, and other legal representatives in real estate transactions.


A real estate attorney can identify and solve problems that arise during real estate transactions, such as resolving title issues or negotiating contract disputes.

Time Management

Attorneys can manage their time effectively to handle multiple transactions and meet tight deadlines.

Attention To Detail

A real estate attorney pays close attention to details when reviewing and drafting legal documents to ensure accuracy and minimize the risk of errors.

Analytical Thinking

A real estate attorney can analyze complex legal issues and develop solutions that meet client’s needs while also complying with legal requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Does a Real Estate Attorney Cost?

How much you pay your real estate attorney (or attorneys) will depend on the services they provide, your location, and whether they bill by the hour or charge a flat fee. If you hire a lawyer early in the homebuying or home-selling process, you will pay more than someone who engages legal counsel for the closing only.

If you are the buyer and your lender requires an attorney to be present at closing, you will likely pay for that attorney as well as your attorney if you decide to hire one. In general, real estate attorneys charge between $150 and $350 per billable hour.

How To Find the Right Real Estate Attorney for You

Your real estate agent may have recommendations for real estate attorneys that clients have used and liked in the past. You can also go to your state bar association’s website to search for an attorney near you. Use the American Bar Association‘s directory to find your state’s website.

Can A Real Estate Attorney Draft a Real Estate Contract?

Yes, a real estate attorney can draft a real estate contract. But if it’s a typical transaction, you may be fine using the standard contract utilized by your real estate agent.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here