Getting involved in a real estate transaction is an exciting but sometimes confusing time. There can be complicated legal issues, confusing verbiage and terms and the process can take a lot of time and money to complete. With all this in mind, you may want someone on your side that is knowledgeable about this area of law. A real estate attorney can look out for your interests and help protect your investment. Legal advice offers you something the average person needs, and usually lacks-- that is, knowledge of real estate law. Use the below information to help decide if you should hire an attorney for your transaction.

What services do attorneys offer?

A real estate attorney can offer many different services and some may specialize in certain areas but some general services that are typically offered are:

• Reviewing and outlining the real estate transaction process
• Reviewing any listing or agency agreements
• Drafting and reviewing real estate condition reports
• Drafting and reviewing residential offers to purchase and counter offers
• Assisting buyers and sellers through the property inspection and financing contingencies
• Working with title insurance companies and reviewing title insurance commitments
• Checking the settlement statement figures with you prior to closing
• Advising you at closing

In addition, because you will likely have questions throughout the purchase process, having an attorney available to answer all of your questions that arise during the course of your sale will be an added benefit.

Are attorney fees expensive?

It can depend; the actual cost for an attorney varies by state and by amount of work required. Fee structures also vary (some lawyers charge by the hour, others by flat fee, some by both depending on the task.) but the typical range is $350-$1500. Personal attorney's fee is not part of your closing costs and must be paid for separately. However, keep in mind that when you are buying or selling a home, it is most likely your biggest investment and you want to do everything to protect it.

Locating an attorney in your area

Finding a good real estate attorney is not as difficult as you may think; ask for referrals from your local bar association, your real estate agent or your mortgage broker. Also, ask friends, colleagues and family whom they've had a good experience working with. The internet is a valuable tool you can use to research also, locate an attorney in your area.    

Real estate attorneys can make the buying and selling process easier and save time and money.  Their job is to protect your interests and resolve complex matters in an efficient manner. Throughout the process your attorney will check every detail, helping you protect your investment and your financial security. Having your real estate lawyer in your corner can bring peace of mind and relieve a lot of the stress associated with that sale.