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Be Aware when Hiring an Attorney

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Turn Key Real Estate 31RA0874656

You did your search and traveled to a multitude of homes to find your “next place to call home.” Finally, after almost 6 months and 500+ miles, you settled on your first home, a 3 bedroom and 1 ½ bath place.  You went through and performed all of your negotiations, through the haggling, stressful, and tense moments; treading lightly on eggshells, and doing whatever was necessary and required that you had to do (of course legally, lol) to have an agreed and accepted price.  However, you’re somewhat happy but not ecstatic with your broker, as they weren’t really at the “top of their game” when it came to all the details and minutiae.  Then you ordered your inspection and had it completed. 

In the meantime, you still haven’t hired an attorney and are asking your broker or salesperson for suggestions as well as getting recommendations from family and friends.  However, one of the very best places to check on those that you are considering using is to go online and check their reviews and testimonials. This will be your best source for seeing what their current and previous clients experienced with the services that they provided.

You surely want to make sure that your attorney has never been convicted of stealing any escrow money.  I am sure some of you have read in the papers of some lawyers who have absconded clients’ money and co-mingled it with their accounts to buy luxury cars, jewelry, vacations, and pay their bills.  I was involved in a situation when I was in my late twenties in the purchase of a building in Floral Park for my previous Landscape Design and Professional lawn tree and shrub application business.  My attorney who was referred to by my real estate broker, I found out later on, never sent my downpayment and contract back to the seller’s attorney.  I ended up losing the property. but through a very method and with the assistance of my manager, I was fortunate to at least get back all of our money.  The way in which I was able to accomplish this is a story for another day and column. We are in desperate times for some attorneys, who on the surface had been very professional and honest but decided for whatever reasons, to steal clients’ money and were caught redhanded. 

You should also speak to the choices that you have, to find out their fees.  In this column, I will not provide an exact amount that attorneys charge. I do offer recommendations when my clients ask.  However, the price range that I have seen and experienced for a local lawyer can be as little as $850 up to $2500 or possibly more for a Manhattan professional.  Some client's experiences were horror stories with the bargain basement types.  They will speak with you in the beginning and then only be handled by their paralegals during the process going forward, and maybe not even see them at the closing either. So you must proceed with caution to narrow down your choices to the one that you will hire to be the most knowledgeable, transparent, and have the most expertise and communicate with you right through to the closing.  The best one will provide you the quality service that you deserve at the most reasonable and affordable fee; or what I call the “biggest bang for your buck.” But keep in mind that you get what you pay for and “cheap is expensive and sometimes expensive is cheap” when all is said and done. 

However, before you hire your attorney, now is the time to ask questions and interview them, which most never do.  Unfortunately, you experienced some faux pas and embarrassing situations that have created stress that almost caused your sale to go south.  It wasn’t your choice to be in this situation. But circumstances arose that you didn’t know about or aware of, due to your lack of knowledge because you are not an attorney and that is why you hired one. These items, e.g. survey issues, Co’s, etc. should have been carefully addressed before the closing.  Your legal representative is the one that is your responsible party for handling your transaction.  He or she must do their due diligence in crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s, to make certain that all information is accurately derived appropriately and that no rock is left unturned.  In the end, your closing should be a happy and stress-free event.

From my personal experiences, I know that the majority of attorneys represent their clients most professionally and expertly. However, there are some, that I ponder how they ever passed their bar exam; and the same with some real estate salespersons too.  Although this is not a normal occurrence for the most part, every business has its Pros and then there are the cons, if you know what I mean?

If you purchasing an HOA, condo or coop, you must be sure that who you hire has sufficient experience and knowledge in executing these types of sales as they are handled much differently than residential property.  

Don’t just hire anyone on a whim because of a referral or recommendation. As I have conveyed to you, be prepared and do your due diligence with the most careful research in becoming a Sherlock Holmes.  This will benefit you, in being cognizant of who will be your best representative.  You must always remember that you are spending a lot of your or your family’s hard-earned dollars when purchasing your home.  As I have said in previous columns, it is the most valuable asset in building your long-term wealth that the majority will own in their lifetimes. Your job is to keep as much money in your pocket as possible; but realize that everyone needs to earn a living, so hire the best attorney that you can, with whom you will have excellent rapport and hopefully a long-term relationship when it comes to legal matters

 

Philip A. Raices is the owner/Broker of Turn Key Real Estate at 3 Grace Ave Suite 180 in Great Neck.  He has 42+ years of experience in the Real Estate industry and has earned designations as a Graduate of the Realtor Institute (G.R.I.) and also as a Certified International Property Specialist (C.I.P.S.) and has earned his National Association of Realtors “Green Industry designation for eco-friendly low carbon footprint construction with 3-D printed foundations, Solar panels, Geo-thermal HVAC/Heat Pumps).

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Sincerely,

Philip A. Raices, Pres/CEO, 

Graduate Realtor Institute

(What I consider a Masters Degree in Real Estate)
 
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Turn Key Real Estate
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Great Neck N. Y.  11021-2414
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Direct: (516) 647-4289
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We truly and thoroughly enjoy doing business with Matrimonial/Divorce Attorneys as we assist them in helping their clients with the challenging, tumultuous, and stressful process of navigating and guiding them through the potential sale (or showing how the wife or husband) can potentially keep and stay in the home.  If allowed, we will hold their hand(s) and build rapport and a relationship with either 1 or both parties as we traverse through the selling process.  We are also in Part 36 of the NYS Court system in helping those attorneys who need a Professional, Expert, and Qualified Broker with their indigent, disabled, or clients who have passed away with the sale of their properties.
 
If you know of anyone who might be considering selling, investing, purchasing, renting, or leasing any type of residential or commercial property, locally, the 5 Boroughs of NYC, Upstate, around the U.S.A., or Internationally, that isn't already listed with a Broker, consider me your go-to guy!
 
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Adam Feinberg
Elegran - Manhattan, NY
NYC Condo, Co-op, and Townhouse Advisor

Great post.

Most of the Manhattan attorney's are charging $3,000-$3,500 now. Many of my clients are attorney's themselves- and will use someone in their own network, but when the client doesn't have their own attorney, I have many trusted attorney's I can recommend. That said- I may recommend a specific attorney for certain situations - i.e. the possibility of litigation might be real working on a deal/client- I might recommend a firm that also handles real estate litigation in house or an attorney that specializes in understanding condo conversions because they wrote a lot of offering plans for these types of buildings.

A few months ago I recorded a podcast episode on understanding what a transactional attorney does- due to be released in 2 weeks.  Obviously, my episode is Manhattan centric - where most sales are condo and co-op apartments.

Jan 29, 2024 09:10 PM
Philip A. Raices

Hey Adam, Good eves,  appreciate your compliment.  It's obvious that you too have some excellent knowledge about attorneys who specialize.  I am working on creating a cutting-edge podcast and If you are interested in performing a podcast with me as my guest, let me know.

Jan 30, 2024 07:22 PM
Adam Feinberg

Hi Philip A. Raices, That sounds like it could be interesting. Most of my episodes are neighborhood centric and require a lot of prep time to write each episode (i.e. How the modern image of Santa ties into Harlem, Columbia's ties to the Manhattan Project, Haunted Mansion- Founding Father Edition- The Morris Jumel Mansion in Washington Heights). The easier, quicker episodes to create are more  like this one where I break down what a transactional attorney does for our clients. I don't know if the site allows for phone numbers and email here- but you can reach me if you google Elegran and Adam Feinberg.

Feb 01, 2024 12:33 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Awesome post it has been a while since you last posted but always a good message, now with that said you should also interact with the community on this platform, just my two cents, Endre

Jan 29, 2024 09:18 PM
Philip A. Raices

Hey Andre, Good Eves Appreciate the accolade and I always try my best to present and provide pertinent and thought-provoking content for everyone!

You are correct; just have to commit to the time to be more involved.  I don't know how busy you are but I am responding at 10:25 PM EST and between my brokerage, committees that I participate in in our LIBOR local MLS 42,000 strong and counting, and our National Association of Realtors Global Business and Alliance Committee, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club too!  I need more than 24 hrs in a day, lol. Lastly, 3 grandchildren (and 1 more on the way in March, a boy, with my son and daughter-in-law to carry my name another 80-100 years if we don't implode or blow ourselves up! I make a concerted effort to see all of them on a regular basis, since they are pretty close by,  However, as they say, if you want to get something done, "Always ask a busy Person."  If I could delegate some of my duties and responsibilities to one of my agents or Associate Brokers, I would, (but I truly love what I am involved in and my other saying is, "Do what you Love and Love what you do."  They too have the things that they do, their life/family, etc I will try to participate as much as I possibly can going forward.  I am also trying (with limited success) to have more agents join AR too.  

Jan 30, 2024 07:37 PM
Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em: golfArizona@cox.net

Just like any profession.  hiring the right person is the key.  Thanks for sharing and enjoy your Taco Tuesday and have a productive week!

Bill Salvatore, Realtor- Arizona Elite Properties

Jan 30, 2024 04:28 AM
Philip A. Raices

Hey Bill, Good eve,   I always enjoy sharing my thoughts as it is much more rewarding to give than to take.  There are those agents who only have an agenda to earn as much as possible and forget about why they are in this business; it is to serve and assist their clients to find "their next place to call home."©

Maybe that is why approximately 100,000+ have left our business since Jan 2023!  BTW, I was way too busy today to have a Taco, lol  I will try for next Tuesday!😁

Jan 30, 2024 07:37 PM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

Having to hire an attorney is a scary thing in my book and finding the right one would certainly be a difficult task.

Jan 30, 2024 04:40 AM
Philip A. Raices

Hey Brian, Good Eves,

It isn't as hard as you might think if you follow my thoughts in my column.  I have had several attorneys for 20+ years.  My methods of interviewing have never changed and for the most part, they are very focused on dialogue and conversation to see how they think about their business and personal life.  I do the same with all my clients and educate and guide my agents to perform the same way; minimizing and eliminating a good portion of the stresses that occur in our industry.

Jan 30, 2024 07:50 PM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

When I did real estate in a previous state which was an attorney state, I had a few excellent real estate attorneys on speed dial. However, I also met quite a few I would never recommend. It's important to find someone who is skilled with real estate specifically.

Jan 30, 2024 04:51 AM
Philip A. Raices

Hi, Kat, Good Eves😃  Did you happen to previously reside in NY?  Do you know what you get when you have 200+ DEPLORABLE, DISGRACEFUL, DESPICABLE, AND GREEDY attorneys at the bottom of the Hudson River???  A START!!! 🤣  It's no different in our industry and pretty much all others too!

Jan 30, 2024 07:57 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Phillip,

Well written post on why finding the right attorney is so important. Definitely needs to be a skilled real estate attorney! Just like hiring any professional....take the time to do your due diligence! 

Jan 30, 2024 05:08 AM
Philip A. Raices

Good Eves Dorie down in the LoneStar State😂  Thank you for your kind words!  I think if you are at the "top of  your game" or close to it and have been in the business for a sufficient number of years, you should be able to figure out fairly easily who is real and who is Memorex if you understand the analogy, lol  We also do this with every one of our clients too.  I teach my associates how to get rid of them (sometimes on the  initial call) before they get rid of us or stop responding and try to turn us in "UBER DRIVERS, TO GO FOR AND CHAUFFEUR THEM AROUND W/O PRODUCING RESULTS!

Jan 30, 2024 08:03 PM