How to choose a property lawyer
When purchasing a home or commercial property, it's a good idea to involve the services of a property lawyer. A good lawyer will ensure that your rights are protected, will advise potential issues with the property and will process all necessary legal documents for your purchase.
Utilise these guidelines to help you secure the right lawyer for you.
Start your hunt for an excellent real estate lawyer about the same time you seriously begin your search for a new property. You want plenty of time to find a good lawyer -- you don't want to end up choosing one at the last moment without doing any research.
seek advice from people you trust
Talk to friends, colleagues and family who have recently purchased a property and ask them if they would recommend the real estate lawyer they used. You could also seek the names of reputable lawyers from your real estate agent -- be sure to get a lawyer who's independent of that agent. My business banker recommended my real estate lawyer – Sandy Donaldson, Simpson and Grierson – years ago and we have moved firms with her as she is worth her weight in gold. Ask about the fees charged by the lawyer and how well the lawyer helped them to navigate the purchasing process. Remember, an expensive lawyer will often have the experience to get things done faster and more thoroughly which can save you money both short and long-term.
Look for experience
You want to find a "property lawyer" (a lawyer who specialises in property sales) who regularly handles real estate transactions, not one who's dealt with one only a handful of times and is a Jack of all trades. In my experience Remember, a slightly more expensive lawyer will often have the resource to get things done faster and more thoroughly which can save you money both short and long-term.
Check online with the law society for more information.
Once you have the names of a few lawyers, check to see if they have websites and google to see if there has been any bad press. There, you can also find out more about their backgrounds, credentials, specialties and business style. You need a lawyer that will work with you, we have done many property transactions over the years at ten minutes to midnight with our lawyer burning the candle too.
Select a few lawyers to interview on the phone or, ideally, in person. (Check first whether you'll be charged for the discussion.) Ask them about their background and years of experience, how many closings they typically perform during a month or a year, what services they will provide, and whether they can give you the names of some of their clients as references. Ask up front what their fees will be and how you will be charged. If it is your first property transaction, a flat fee can be useful to enable you to plan. Ask whether they see any conflicts of interest.
Sign on the dotted line
Once you select a lawyer, read the "engagement letter" or "retainer agreement" -- in which the lawyer spells out what services he or she will provide and at what fee -- in full, and make sure that you fully understand it and its terms.