5 Ways to Improve your Real Estate Experience with a Law Firm

SKRealEstateLaw 5 Ways to Improve Blog FI

While every transaction is different, there are a few themes that show up consistently when individuals are frustrated about their real estate transaction.  Here’s a list of tips and tricks to help your deal go smoothly.

Get a Recommendation and Ask Questions – Your Realtor and Mortgage Professional will know lawyers who they recommend in their area.  Draw on their experience in the area, and see who they recommend.  Talk to friends and family to see who they have had a positive experience with.  Price for the service is a fair component of your assessment, but should not be the only one.
Ask the lawyer about how much of their practice involves real estate, and which people you will be dealing with as part of the transaction.  Ask if you will be meeting with the lawyer as part of the closing of the transaction, and how far in advance the meeting will be.
Pick Your Lawyer Early – Often an afterthought in the real estate process, many only think of tracking down their legal counsel after the deal is done and the conditions removed.  While real estate professionals are skilled at negotiating offers, there are often points in which lawyer’s skill set may be useful.  It does not hurt to be in contact and see if there is any way that we can assist in the process.
There may be some due diligence that the lawyer can do prior to removal of conditions (like a review of condominium documents) that will make you feel better or reveal information about your deal before you lose all ability to back away from it if need be.
Give the Law Firm Time!  – The timelines being imposed on law firms to close real estate transactions are getting shorter and shorter.  Any law firm that has done any volume of real estate will have those deals that closed in an unrealistically short time frame.
The problem with these deals is that the margin of error for the many steps is so low.  If something unexpected occurs or other events that cause a delay from either law firm, the lender, the clients, the realtor or any other information provider, the deal will not close as smoothly as it should.
While understanding that sometimes it is not possible, ideally a law firm should be instructed at least two weeks prior to the possession date.
Get a Quote. – Most firms will be happy to give you quote for the services you require.  You should let them know if it is a purchase or a sale, the value of the property, they type of property (condo, house, commercial property) and if there is financing or not.  It is also helpful to try to understand the basic costs of the transaction, and understand some of the different costs that can happen in a transaction.
If you want more information on those costs, check out this detailed post: How much money do I need?

Communication – Look for the easiest way to share information with your lawyer.  Often, a series of emails can provide a simple way to keep track of the steps that need to follow for the transaction to be complete, and telephone calls to go over more of the confusing steps.  Work with the lawyer and their staff (who are integral to the process) in gathering all the information that they need to ensure the deal goes through smoothly.  Make sure to explain any restrictions you may have to sign documents (travel, work commitments, moving) so that you can find a mutually convenient time to meet.

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