Understanding the basics of property law is highly advisable even if you are not interested in pursuing law yourself but you are a homeowner or property investor. However, if you are thinking of pursuing a career as a lawyer and want to learn more about handling property-related issues, learning the ins and outs of property law is key.
What is Property Law and How is It Defined?
Property law is defined as an area of law that focuses on both land as well as personal property rights. This area of law typically focuses on financing property, selling land, obtaining mortgages, and even intellectual property issues that may arise.
Whether someone is arguing over who is responsible for a property’s plumbing repair, taxes, or even its sale, turning to a property attorney is best.
What Do Real Estate Attorneys Do?
A real estate lawyer specializes in understanding all aspects of property law, whether they are living in Florida or if they practice all around the country. If a client is interested in buying or selling a home, obtaining a mortgage, or even seeking a farm crop insurance quote, a real estate attorney can help to guide the client through every step involved in the process.
Real estate lawyers understand how to go about best-protecting clients when investing in both residential and commercial properties. They are well-versed in the local property laws that you must abide by based on where you live as well as any zoning laws that are currently effective.
Benefits of Hiring a Real Estate Attorney
Hiring a real estate lawyer is highly advisable anytime you are handling contracts that are linked to property investments of your own. Even if you are a seasoned property investor, retaining the right legal counsel is essential for optimal protection at all times. Your attorney will guide you to work with the appropriate real estate agents based on the type of property you are seeking. He or she will work to safeguard you from deals that are not ideal or to your benefit.
Real estate attorneys can also help you to identify properties that are of interest to you while negotiating on your behalf. Handling negotiations as well as the closing process of purchasing a home or commercial property can also be done with the assistance of the right real estate attorney. If you have questions or are seeking confidential advice, you can do so with a real estate lawyer who understands the business.
Qualifications of Real Estate Lawyers
Before hiring an attorney to represent you when it comes to your investments or property issues, it’s important to ensure that the lawyer you select is fully qualified to take on the job. In order to begin to successfully work in law and with property rights, your attorney will have to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or pre-law in addition to passing the LSAT, or the Law School Admissions Test.
Once the LSAT is passed, a Juris Doctor degree must be earned from a chosen law school. After the degree is complete, the state’s bar exam must be passed in order to begin working as a property lawyer in any capacity. After an individual passes the state bar exam, he or she can also opt to go on to earn a voluntary certificate in real estate law to further their credentials when seeking work or landing new potential clients.
In addition to formal education, your real estate attorney should also be well-versed in current industry trends and relevant knowledge as it pertains to the type of properties you are interested in or the contract you require assistance with personally. They should be familiar with the legalities of property management, landlord rights, lease transactions, as well as purchasing agreements. If an attorney is also experienced in filing claims as well as insurance underwriting, this can make them even more appealing when seeking the best legal representation.
Services Provided by Real Estate Attorneys
Hiring the right real estate attorney can make a world of difference when you are negotiating contracts, purchasing a property, or even listing your own home for sale. Real estate attorneys will work with you to explain the terms of leasing agreements as well as purchasing agreements, depending on the type of real estate opportunities you intend to pursue. When you are working with an attorney who specializes in property rights and law, you can also learn more about potential liens, easements, and any other obligations that may be attached to a property prior to settling on your decision and making an investment.
Reviewing titles, contractors, and documents for potential defects or errors is also a responsibility that your real estate attorney will assume. They can help to guide you through the terms of mortgages while negotiating on your behalf, depending on the goals you have in mind. Additionally, real estate attorneys are also familiar with tax codes, liabilities, and laws, which can help to ensure you are covered when it comes to paying taxes each time you make a new investment or sign a new contractual agreement.
When working alongside an attorney who specializes in property and real estate law, you can request assistance when going through the closing process of a new home or commercial lot. Additionally, your attorney can work to assist you to obtain property insurance while also ensuring that all deeds to properties you own are in proper order. Essentially, working with a real estate attorney is highly recommended if you are searching for ways to streamline the process of working with new properties, whether you are a buyer or if you’re interested in selling your own.
Cost of Hiring a Real Estate Lawyer
The cost of an attorney who specializes in real estate and property will vary based on the lawyer’s experience as well as the number of years they have been in practice. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere between $100 per hour to more than $400 for proper legal representation when it comes to obtaining a real estate attorney. In some instances, however, attorneys may be open to charging a flat fee for the work you require, depending on the extent of your case.
Finding the Right Property Law Attorney
Once you determine that you want to retain a real estate attorney, you can begin conducting your search both locally as well as online via popular search engines. Based on current search engine optimization, you can find local property attorneys and real estate lawyers with engines such as Google while simultaneously ensuring that the law firm is currently practicing near you. Before choosing an attorney to hire for your own representation, consider the type of service you will require. If you are signing contracts, seeking an attorney who specializes in both contract and property law is highly recommended.
As you become more familiar with your legal needs, you can then hone in on the lawyers who will be representing you. When seeking legal representation, be sure to ask family members, friends, neighbors, and even co-workers who may have experience in real estate for their own recommendations. This is especially advisable for those who have hired legal representation in the past. Recommendations can help you to feel much more comfortable in your final decision.
If you do not know anyone who has access to a reputable attorney near you, it is also possible to conduct your search by asking local business owners for recommendations as well as by searching online. Browsing online for a lawyer to represent your case is a way to learn more about the type of services they offer as well as their individual levels of experience. Use official websites as well as client testimonials to find a law firm or an individual real estate attorney who is right for you.
When browsing online for a potential attorney to hire, keep in mind that it is important to search for verified reviews using third-party websites or search engines. This will ensure that the reviews are authentic and genuine. You can also research the online presence of lawyers you are interested in hiring with the use of social media to ensure that they are the right fit for your legal needs.
Instances in Which This Law Applies
Understanding when property law applies is essential whether you are investing in a residential home, renting a luxury wedding venue, or if you require emergency plumbers for a property you are managing as a landlord. From working on constructing pole barns to signing contracts for a local public charter school, property law applies to many different aspects of everyday life.
Anytime you are in the process of signing a contractual agreement or if you are thinking of making a major investment, it is best to do so only once you have retained proper legal counsel. The right legal representation will help to streamline the process of managing properties and protecting yourself legally whenever you enter the realm of real estate.
Case Studies of This in Action
Attorneys who specialize in property law must understand everything from OSHA compliant fall protection solutions to well-known case studies that have been documented in the past. One such case is Stambovsky v. Ackley. The Stambovsky v. Ackley case, which is commonly referred to as the ‘Ghostbusters Ruling’, was a case settled in 1991 after a property, which was haunted, was purchased by an unwitting buyer. Later, the buyer, who discovered the property was, indeed haunted (by his own admission), brought upon action for rescission. Ultimately, it was ruled that the house was to be deemed as ‘haunted’ as a matter of law, making it legally required that all future sellers disclose the information to prospective buyers.
Those who practice property and real estate law must become familiar with a wide range of well-known property cases that have been documented around the world and even in the modern 21st century.
How to Start Practicing
If you have a passion for law or if you want to better understand property and real estate law near you, pursuing a career in property law is one way to get started. Before you can begin to work as a lawyer who represents others and their property investments, there are a few steps that you must take. Knowing what steps you will need to take can help you maintain your peace of mind throughout the entire process from start to finish.
Becoming a property or real estate lawyer will require you to complete a Bachelor’s degree in a law-related field such as criminal justice. You can also pursue pre-law at this time. Once you have obtained your Bachelor’s degree, you will then be required to pass your LSAT test, which is standard for all students who are interested in pursuing a career in law, regardless of the area of interest you are focusing on. Once you have passed your LSAT, you can then move on to obtaining your Juris Doctor degree from the law school of your choice. Once you have obtained your Juris Doctor degree, you then must pass your state’s bar exam.
The bar exam in each state may vary, which is why it is imperative to take the time to familiarize yourself with each state’s requirements before pursuing a career in law. Whether you intend to represent clients who are purchasing homes or those interested in commercial real estate, it is important to know what your state requires before becoming a property or real estate lawyer yourself.
Once you have completed your bar exam and passed it successfully, you then have the option to complete additional certifications for real estate. However, this is not always required in order for you to begin practicing law. After you are legally permitted to practice law and provide legal advice to clients, you can begin searching for work at a local law firm or consider freelancing on your own independently.
Whether you are interested in becoming an investor in property or if you want to enter the field of law yourself, knowing the basics of property law is highly advisable. The more familiar you become with property law and what it entails, the easier it will be for you to pursue investment opportunities that are best suited for you and the future you envision for yourself.