Do I need a real estate lawyer?

Thumbtack Editors
Answered

Whether you need a real estate lawyer depends on what kind of legal assistance you need. In many states (such as Vermont and Maine), you are required to hire a real estate lawyer to handle the closing documents of a home sale. The lawyer may prepare the deed, examine the title, review purchase and sale paperwork, work directly with the lender, and more. In title states such as California and Nevada, you do not need a real estate lawyer to buy or sell a home. Typically sales are handled by escrow agents, title companies or lenders. However, you may opt to hire a real estate lawyer to handle closing — even if it’s not required — to ensure your interests are protected.

You may also need a real estate lawyer are when you are negotiating a large property purchase or development deal, or if you are declaring bankruptcy or have a property that’s going into foreclosure. If a property dispute has escalated beyond mediation, a real estate lawyer can advocate for your interests. If you prefer to remain (relatively) anonymous in property ownership, you may have a real estate lawyer represent you and negotiate deals for you. It can be a costly investment, with national average hourly rates ranging from $150 to $350 or more, but legal representation can offer peace of mind and protection of your financial interests.