Although not everyone hires a lawyer to help them on their property-buying journey, an experienced professional can make the process much easier. Whether you’re a first-time buyer of Los Angeles real estate or a regular property investor, having a competent attorney by your side will allow you to focus on what’s important while they deal with the intricacies of local property law. But how can you make sure you don’t accidentally employ an incompetent or unsuitable lawyer? Let’s explore some things you must avoid when it comes to hiring a real estate attorney in Los Angeles.
Sugar-Coating and Lack of Truthfulness
Whether your case is reasonably straightforward or extremely complex, there are likely to be at least a few roadblocks and problems along the way. Maybe an issue or unfavorable circumstance is revealed prior to your deal going through, or there is a delay in the process. In such cases, it is crucial that your attorney is honest and upfront with you so that you can make the best decision possible.
An experienced and well-trained lawyer will know how to break any bad news to you in a competent and empathetic way, without sugarcoating the issue or making it worse. Always make sure that you hire a reliable person who will be honest with you, no matter what happens with your deal.
Late Reporting and Slow Communication
When buying or selling real estate in Los Angeles, there are often large sums of money involved, and they may represent a big proportion of your wealth. In such a case, it’s important that your attorney report any new developments to you promptly. Although they might be working with many different clients, they should still be able to get back to you within a day or two. A good lawyer won’t let stress and anxiety build up while they make you wait to hear from them.
Luckily, slow communication can often be detected in the early stages of dealing with a real estate attorney. When you first contact them, do they respond quickly? When you email or call them with questions, is the answer prompt? If not, it might be better to look for an attorney with superior communication skills.
A Lack of Experience as a Real Estate Attorney in Los Angeles
While it can be great to work with a young and energetic lawyer, experience in local property law can be a big bonus. Just like you wouldn’t hire a real estate agent who’s never sold a house in Los Angeles, working with an attorney who’s completely new to the field could be a big mistake.
But the number of years spent working in property law isn’t the only measure of a good, experienced lawyer. Also check a potential candidate’s track record, especially if your situation is specific or out of the ordinary. Have they won similar cases before? If not, this could be a sign that the person is not well-suited to your needs.
No Client Loyalty
Often, lawyers are dealing with many different cases at a time, so they have to juggle a lot of commitments at once. While being busy is a sign that the attorney is in demand, it shouldn’t mean that they don’t make enough time for you. Avoid hiring someone who doesn’t make you feel important and or who doesn’t seem willing to put your needs first.
To find a lawyer with great client loyalty, ask your family or friends for recommendations. If someone has used a professional before and was so pleased with the experience that they would recommend them to their loved ones, it’s a definite sign that the lawyer is worth considering. Similarly, your real estate agent is likely to know the best attorneys in the business. Remember, they wouldn’t put their own reputation on the line by recommending a bad service provider, so it’s highly likely that you’ll have a good experience. On the other hand, you’ll need to be more vigilant when finding a lawyer on your own online or through advertisement.
The Wrong Specialization
When you’re in the market for an attorney, make sure the person is specialized in the correct area of law and is suited to your exact situation. If they are not familiar with the common practices both in the field of real estate and in the Los Angeles area, you may run into a range of issues, such as missing important deadlines or not being properly informed about the intricacies of your legal documents.
Don’t be tempted to use a lawyer friend or a professional you’ve worked with before in a different context. With a business deal as big and important as buying or selling a home, you’ll need a true specialist. Whether you’re buying your first house or looking for new property investment, this is likely to be one of the biggest financial transactions you ever engage in, so having an experienced real estate team by your side is key.
Confusing Billing Practices
Since 1990, lawyer fees have grown at around twice the inflation rate, and Americans spend $100 billion on legal matters every year. With this in mind, make sure you’re not being overcharged by your real estate attorney. Review their fees and billing system before you start working with them. Sometimes, these are unnecessarily complex or even unfair, and it’s best to find this out right away instead of waiting until you’re already committed.
Don’t be shy to ask about payment and listen carefully to how the attorney answers your questions. A lawyer who pads their hours and overbills you as a consequence is definitely one you will want to avoid. And remember: even an ethical legal professional can make a mistake, so it’s best to double-check your bills regardless of how trustworthy your lawyer is. A good lawyer will happily and immediately rectify any mistakes.
Finally, no matter how good the reputation of a real estate attorney in Los Angeles is, you won’t get the best results if your personalities clash. Some lawyers are very driven and ambitious while others have a calm and reassuring manner. Depending on your own personality and how you feel about your case, you will need a different approach. And while a certain amount of assertiveness is crucial when it comes to being a successful real estate attorney, this doesn’t mean that a lawyer has to be aggressive. Even if the professional comes highly recommended, make sure you find common ground and feel comfortable with them before you employ them.
No matter how much experience you have in buying or selling a house, a competent and professional real estate attorney can help you to avoid costly delays and mistakes during your deal. While there are some stellar lawyers out there, the opposite is also true, and it’s important that you vet your professional carefully prior to deciding to work with them.
If in doubt, ask someone who works in the industry for their advice before making a commitment. Whether you’re buying or selling a house, call Teresa Mack, Los Angeles’ premier real estate professional. With her extensive experience in the industry, she can help you not just with finding a new home or selling yours, but also with finding the best real estate attorney for your needs.