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What is a Real Estate Attorney?

Carol Francois
Carol Francois

A real estate attorney is a fully licensed attorney who has focused his or her practice on real estate law. Real estate is the purchase, sale and transfer of land, buildings and homes. There are strict laws surrounding real estate transactions, and a lawyer is typically required for these types of transaction.

There are four primary functions of real estate attorney: review agreements, prepare contracts, act as an intermediary, and appear in court. All lawyers are required to complete a graduate degree in law and pass the bar exam. This exam is mandatory before beginning to practice law. Every state has their own bar exam, and lawyers are required to ensure that they are holding the correct license for their location.

Real estate documents.
Real estate documents.

A purchase agreement provides details of the item being purchased and the conditions surrounding the property or building. Included in the agreement are details of outstanding repairs, date of possession, down payment amounts and effective dates of the transfer. The real estate lawyer must check the agreement to ensure that no laws are violated and to protect their client.

Real estate attorneys are often hired to draw up sales documents.
Real estate attorneys are often hired to draw up sales documents.

Many people have the contract of sale drawn up or written by a real estate attorney. They can include specific terms and stipulations, define the rules surrounding the sale and make any future claims if required. Many people who need to disclose certain facts about a property do so in the contract of sale. They also use this opportunity to specifically limit their liability and protect themselves against further legal action.

In many states, a real estate attorney acts as an intermediary. He or she can hold the deposit in trust until the deal is closed, negotiated on behalf of the client, and coordinate information with the court or other lawyer in a dispute. As attorneys, they are expected to behave within the law, while serving their clients’ needs.

It is best if a real estate attorney appears in civil court to work on a law suit regarding real estate transactions. These attorneys are responsible for preparing the strategy, researching case law, conferencing with the other lawyers and attempting to negotiate a settlement. If one can't be reached, they question witnesses, make legal arguments and present the case to a judge.

Many real estate law offices employ law clerks and legal assistants to assist with the administration. Real estate has a large number of filing and reporting requirements. The use of these trained professional to assist help keep the practice profitable and meet all legal requirements.

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    • Real estate documents.
      Real estate documents.
    • Real estate attorneys are often hired to draw up sales documents.
      By: alexskopje
      Real estate attorneys are often hired to draw up sales documents.