The first question most people ask a real estate attorney is “How much do you charge?” Fair question. Perhaps the better question would be “Do you add extra charges to your fee?” Some attorneys may quote a low flat fee to represent you in a residential home purchase. But somehow, at the closing table, you end up paying that attorney hundreds more in extra fees. A legal fee quoted at $950 can quickly become $1,500 or more!
Yes–that’s right. On the day of your closing, when you’ve got so much on your mind, (ie. moving out, moving in, reading your loan documents to make sure the bank gave the interest rate you were promised) hidden legal fees are literally squeezed out of you. Don’t be a victim of this practice!
How to recognize extra fees: They will be for faxes, photocopies, phone charges, and postage. In our office, if you’re paying a flat legal fee, that fee already includes ordinary amounts of faxes, photocopies, phone calls, and postage. At my office, you’ll never pay an extra fee for these services.* Is it fair for you to ask your prospective attorney if he/she will charge you for these services ? It’s not just fair, it makes good sense.
Closing Costs: You’ll usually pay charges for a survey, title insurance, and lender fees which are beyond your attorney’s control. But your attorney should be able to explain all these fees to you.
Experience Counts: Ask about experience. Your attorney should know the ins and outs of real estate transactions and should be accessible. He/she should be ready and willing to answer your questions–no matter how unimportant or silly they may seem. At my office, there is no such thing as a “dumb question.” If it’s important to YOU, then it becomes important to ME.
Call Us. One good way to tell how easy it is to reach an attorney is to try to reach out to him/her the first time you call the office. No time like the present!
*on some occasions we will sometimes need to travel out of the area to conduct a closing, which may involve a travel charge.