Thursday, November 16, 2006

Please please please use a REAL ESTATE attorney

I think every realtor can tell you a nightmare story about attorneys, and I'm sure the attorneys have a few about realtors. Generally, we play very nicely together. It's also one of those areas in the real estate transaction that seems to get overlooked. In many cases I find that the attorney is an afterthought, not to say it hasn't been thought about, but one of those we'll worry about that later thoughts. Unfortunately, not picking a good real estate attorney can lead to problems later. And can I emphasize REAL ESTATE attorney. Yes, any attorney can do the job, but I firmly believe it is in the client's best interest to use a real estate attorney. They're the expert. They're current on the state laws and it's latest changes, and ensure that the property title is clear among other things. Yes, in Illinois, the law allows any attorney to carry out a real estate transaction, but that doesn't mean it's the best thing.

Also, a few recommendations when it comes to selecting an attorney:
1) Get a recommendation, whether it's from your real estate agent or a friend. It's important to know that they've done a good job for other people.
2) No friends (unless they're a real estate attorney). Zero. Yes, they usually have the best intentions and won't charge you, but if they're trying to stick you in with the rest of their workload, you might get placed on the backburner.
3) Don't pick an attorney, real estate or otherwise, out of the phone book. I was talking to
another agent in my office and his client did just that. Sure the guy was cheap, but the client can't even reach him.
4) Think again, before representing yourself. Sure it might save you a few bucks, but when you're talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars, a few hundred for an attorney is worth it. And if there is some sort of headache, do you really want to try to deal with that on top of everything else that is going on (packing, finalizing your mortgage, moving, etc)?