REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY: & How Much They Make & What They Do

Real estate attorney

Purchasing a home is most likely the largest investment you will ever make. In addition to engaging a real estate agent to assist with the negotiations, you should consider hiring a real estate attorney to advise you through the legal procedure. Real estate attorneys are experts in all aspects of property law, from sales to resolving disputes between parties. Learn more about what a real estate attorney does, why you might need one, their salary, and how to find one.

An Overview of Real Estate Attorneys

Many states demand the presence of a real estate attorney at the closing. Even if your state does not require one, you may want to retain the services of a real estate attorney. At the closing, a real estate attorney will represent your interests. They will go over the papers ahead of time and advise on any errors or omissions.

Most real estate attorneys bill on an hourly basis, however, some impose a set fee. The attorney will tell you right away.

Who Is a Real Estate Attorney?

A real estate attorney, often known as a real estate lawyer, is someone who is licensed to practice real estate law and has the knowledge and experience to counsel parties involved in a real estates transaction, such as a home sale or short sale.

What Does Real Estate Law Entail?

Real estate law governs the purchase and sale of real property, which includes land and any structures built on it. It also addresses legal issues concerning items attached to the property or structures, such as appliances and fixtures.

What Is The Role of a Real Estate Attorney?

Real estate attorneys handle transactions involving “real property.” Real property is partially interchangeable with real estate – land and permanent structures that are fixed in place.

For the majority of home buyers, purchasing real estate does not necessitate going to court. A real estate attorney, on the other hand, may prepare or examine all documents relating to your house purchase, including the contract, any additional agreements signed with the seller, documentation from your lender, and title and transfer documents. If you hire a real estate attorney, he or she may also attend the closing, either electronically or in person.

Real estate attorneys may also handle other aspects of the home acquisition, such as title searches and title insurance, to guarantee that there are no outstanding claims or liens against the property. They may also offer proof of the transfer of monies to the seller and your lender, or act as a third party to expedite the transaction.

However, if an issue occurs that threatens to derail the sale, a real estate attorney can assist.

Should You Use a Real Estate Attorney while Purchasing a Home?

Do you require the services of a real estate attorney when purchasing a home or other investment property? Maybe. Some states require an attorney to be present during the sales process (or even at the closing table), while others leave it up to you and your lender.

The following states are likely to require the services of an attorney:

  • Connecticut.
  • Delaware.
  • Georgia.
  • Massachusetts.
  • New York City.
  • North Carolina State
  • South Carolina State

However, real state laws differ and are always changing. Check your local laws or consult with your real estate agent for more information.

Even though your state does not require an attorney, one would still be beneficial. Here are a few examples of when you might want to hire an attorney:

  • You are purchasing or selling a business property that already has renters.
  • You have a disagreement with your landlord or tenant.
  • You’re constructing or purchasing commercial real estate for your company.
  • You require assistance in comprehending your sales contract or other arrangement.
  • Your development project is being hampered by land, title, or environmental concerns.
  • You want assistance in negotiating a better offer.
  • You require assistance with the foreclosure process.
  • You’re purchasing a home that has physical difficulties, is in a high-risk location, or contains lead, asbestos, or environmental contaminants.
  • You wish to gain a better understanding of the liabilities that a real estate transaction or property may entail.
  • You are purchasing from a different state or nation and are unsure of the local rules.
  • You’re purchasing a bank-owned property or one with liens on it.

There’s a chance your lender will want you to hire an attorney to make sure your property’s title is clear. Inquire with your lender if this is necessary, or review your loan estimate to see if an attorney’s fee is included.

Read Also; Real Estate Industry: Overview, Types & Examples

When Do You Require the Services of a Real Estate Attorney?

Depending on your location, state regulations, and the specifics of the transaction, you may need to hire a real estate attorney (and have the cost included in your closing costs).

If you wind up requiring an attorney, whether you’ve decided you want one or your state or lender mandates it, they can come in and help at a few key stages during the home purchasing process. This can entail creating and finalizing purchase contracts, modifying a standard contract used by your real estate agent, conducting a title search, and conducting the closing.

Here are a few reasons why you might need or desire an attorney on your home-buying team:

#1. State Requirement Or Lender Requirement

Every state has slightly varied regulations governing real estate transactions, and some states consider specific behaviors that occur during the process to constitute “practicing law.” These rules are frequently intended to prevent real estate agents from working in a legal capacity for which they are not trained or licensed.

For example, in many locations, only a licensed attorney can prepare legal paperwork relating to the sale of a home because it falls under the purview of the practice of law. (However, in some places, real estate brokers now employ standardized form contracts for property transactions that non-attorneys can lawfully fill out without the assistance of an attorney.)

Certain states may also consider performing a home closing to be a legal practice, and as such, an attorney may be required to be present during the closing.

#2. Purchase Contractual Problems

If your house purchase includes any unusual components that could complicate your purchase contract, a skilled real estate attorney can ensure that all of your contracts take the complexity of your situation into account, as well as assist you if contractual concerns emerge during the process.

#3. Peace of Mind

If you have a hunch that anything might go wrong or you want to make certain that all of your bases are covered, having a real estate attorney on your side can be extremely advantageous. With a good legal expert, you may have confidence that even if the transaction goes wrong, you have someone looking out for your best interests and who can assist you work through a difficult issue.

How Much Does a Real Estate Attorney Charge?

The amount you’ll pay your real estate attorney (or attorneys) will be determined by the services they’ve given for you and who is responsible for that specific closing cost. If your mortgage lender needs an attorney to be present at closing, whether the buyer or seller pays for the closing attorney will be determined by the terms of your real estate contract.

If you choose to hire your own attorney in addition to the one required by your lender, you will have to pay for any services they perform. Real estate attorney fees will vary, but here are some general ranges to give you an idea of how much you’ll pay:

  • Fixed hourly pricing: A real estate attorney who charges an hourly rate may charge $150 – $350 per hour, although this varies greatly based on the attorney’s experience and the location you’re in.
  • Fixed pricing for specific services: They may also charge a flat fee for the services they offer. A real estate attorney, for example, may charge $500 – $1,500 to conduct a home closing. Their fees may also be affected by the sale price of the property.

Where Can I Find a Real Estate Attorney Near Me?

Because purchasing a home is such a huge and vital investment, you want to ensure that the people you interact with know what they’re talking about and are skilled at what they do. If you’re not sure where to go for a respectable real estate attorney, here are a few suggestions:

Finding a real estate attorney should not be difficult, but your goal should be to pick someone who is reasonably priced, has a good reputation, and is available to you when you need them. Here’s a step-by-step procedure for locating a real estate attorney.

#1. Request Referrals

Begin by asking family and friends who have recently purchased or sold a home for advice. Furthermore, your real estate agent or mortgage broker may be able to connect you to real estate attorneys with whom they have previously dealt.

#2. Do Some Investigating

Next, verify the website of your state bar association or phone to ensure that the attorneys you intend to contact are licensed to practice. You can also utilize the internet to check reviews about the attorney to ensure that he or she has a solid reputation.

#3. Call a Meeting

Once you’ve limited your choices down to two or three, request a consultation so you can ask questions, obtain a pricing quote, and ensure a good personality fit.

Real estate attorneys should be timely and accessible to you, as well as have a thorough understanding of the local housing regulations. If you’re buying a real type of estates, such as a condo or co-op, inquire about the attorney’s experience with such types of properties.

#4. Use your state’s Bar association directory:

The website of your state’s Bar association can assist you in locating real estate attorneys in your region. Use the American Bar Association’s directory to find the webpage for your state.

There are numerous online review websites that will provide you with information on attorneys in your region, such as their specialty, fee structures, and any evaluations written by previous clients.

Some questions to consider:

#1. Do you bill by the hour or by the fee?

You should find out how much attorneys often charge for services in your location, as well as the price range. Find out if the fee covers the time spent reviewing, discussing, and maybe negotiating elements of all paperwork, or if you only need to attend the closure.

#2. How accessible will you be during the process?

This is significant because, while you’re in the midst of a potentially difficult discussion that must be handled quickly, you’ll want the attorney to be present to advise you and negotiate with the other side.

#3. What number of residential real estate deals do you advise on each year?

This question can reveal information about the attorney’s general experience with real estate deals. Furthermore, knowing if an attorney is unpopular, in-demand, or possibly over-committed and less likely to provide one-on-one attention might be beneficial.

In what ways do you generally get involved in real estate transactions? Real estate transactions can be quite complex, so it’s critical to choose an attorney that specializes in the type of assistance you require.

Real Estate Attorney Qualifications

A real estate attorney, like any other attorney, has acquired a law degree, which normally requires three years of full-time study. They have also completed the state bar exam in the state where they practice. Real estate law training can begin in law school with elective courses and internships and can continue with a real estate law certification.

Why You Shouldn’t Use a Real Estate attorney

Here are a few reasons why you should avoid hiring a real estate attorney:

#1. You do not have the funds.

If your transaction is relatively simple and a real estate attorney is not necessary in your state, you may be fine with just the real estate agent and title firm assisting you. The money you save could be used for a down payment or other essentials.

#2. It might turn into a fight.

If your attorney is looking for reasons to battle the other party, such as making a big fuss about a minor point on a document, it may cause the transaction to be delayed and may be costly if the argument carries on and you have to pay by the hour.


How Much Do Real Estate Agents Get Paid?

Real estate agents are typically paid on a commission basis rather than a salary. They only get their cut when your home search is ended, the contract is signed, and the transaction is completed. (In many situations, they wind up performing a lot of work for nothing, possibly because the buyers have lost interest or are unable to close the purchase.)

The seller normally pays a commission to both the seller’s agency and your agent—often around 5% of the sales price, shared between the two agents. This percentage, however, is not set in stone. If the house is exceptionally pricey, the seller may try to negotiate a lower percentage. (In probate sales, the commission is set by the court.) Some buyers’ agents have even been known to offer a part of their commission at closing to the buyer.

There are various variations on the standard commission system. Some purchasers, for example, choose to engage an agency and pay the commission themselves, reasoning that this will make the agent more devoted to the buyer’s interests and give grounds for a price reduction. Less frequently, you may locate an agent ready to execute limited services for an hourly fee rather than a full commission (in which case, you should also urge the seller to reduce the sales price correspondingly). Discount and rebate brokers are also available, usually offering limited services or online interactions for as little as 1% commission.

Agents who are paid on commission have an inherent conflict of interest.

Even if an agent represents only you and not the seller, he or she has a vested financial interest in the transaction’s success. While experienced, trustworthy agents will not allow this to interfere with their advise to you, less ethical agents may suggest that you will never obtain the house unless you bid high, offer home inspectors who downplay any concerns, or otherwise jeopardize your interests.

How are Attorneys Paid?

Attorneys typically bill by the hour, with fees ranging from $100 to $500. Attorneys that charge flat fees for specialized services, such as preparing real estate closing documents, may also be found.

Although many attorneys want to handle the entire case with a “blank check” from you for hours to be spent and tasks to be completed, you are hiring the attorney and have the last say. If you prefer to employ an attorney for a set number of hours or for specific duties, such as answering a legal query or evaluating a document, you can do so (and you should record your agreement in writing).

What is the Average Salary for a Real Estate Attorney?

The average weekly wage for a Real Estate Attorney in the United States is $1,927 per week as of November 29, 2021.

While ZipRecruiter reports weekly incomes as high as $3,625 and as low as $558, the majority of Real Estate Attorney salaries in the United States now vary from $1,346 (25th percentile) to $2,240 (75th percentile). The typical salary range for a Real Estate Attorney varies substantially (by up to $894), implying that there may be several prospects for promotion and increased pay dependent on skill level, location, and years of experience.

A Real Estate Attorney in your region earns an average weekly pay of $1,927, which is the same as the national average weekly salary of $1,927. Real Estate Attorney wages in California are the highest in the US, ranking first out of 50 states.

ZipRecruiter regularly checks its database of millions of active jobs published locally across America to generate the most accurate weekly salary range for Real Estate Attorney opportunities.

What are the Top 10 Highest Salary Cities in the United States for Real Estate Attorney Jobs?

We’ve identified ten cities where the average salary for a Real Estate Attorney is higher than the national average. San Francisco, CA tops the list, with Fremont, CA and San Jose, CA close behind in second and third place. San Jose, CA outperforms the national average by $15,137 (15.1%), while San Francisco, CA outperforms the national average by another $22,801 (22.8%).

Importantly, the Real Estate Attorney job market in San Francisco, CA is relatively active, with only a few organizations presently hiring for this type of position.

With average salaries higher than the national average salary in these ten cities, the chances for economic success as a Real Estate Attorney appear to be extremely profitable.

Finally, another issue to consider is that the average salary of the real estate attorney in these top ten locations differs just by 10% between San Francisco, CA, and Norwalk, CT, emphasizing the restricted opportunity for wage growth. When comparing location and salary for a Real Estate Attorney career, the possibility of a cheaper cost of living may be the most important element to consider.

Annual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
San Francisco, CA$122,984$10,249$2,365$59.13
Fremont, CA$118,058$9,838$2,270$56.76
San Jose, CA$115,320$9,610$2,218$55.44
Oakland, CA$114,058$9,505$2,193$54.84
Tanaina, AK$113,740$9,478$2,187$54.68
Wasilla, AK$113,738$9,478$2,187$54.68
Sunnyvale, CA$112,327$9,361$2,160$54.00
Hayward, CA$111,669$9,306$2,147$53.69
Jackson, WY$111,073$9,256$2,136$53.40
Norwalk, CT$110,922$9,243$2,133$53.33

What are The Top 5 highest Salary Real Estate Attorney Jobs in the United States?

We discovered at least five positions in the Real Estate Attorney job category that pay more per year than the average Real Estate Attorney salary. Real estate apprentice, real estate partner, and commercial real estate attorney are just a few examples of these roles.
Importantly, all of these positions pay between $12,318 (12.3%) and $56,037 (55.9%) more than the typical Real Estate Attorney income of $100,182. If you’re qualified, getting hired for one of these related Real Estate Attorney jobs could help you earn more money than the average Real Estate Attorney.

Job Title
Annual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
Real Estate Apprentice$156,219$13,018$3,004$75.11
Real Estate Partner$150,020$12,502$2,885$72.12
Commercial Real Estate Attorney$133,045$11,087$2,559$63.96
Estate Planning Attorney$125,970$10,498$2,422$60.56
Real Estate Associate Attorney$112,500$9,375$2,163$54.09


The decision to choose a real estate attorney is frequently influenced by your personal preferences and ability to pay a little more at the closing. If you can put together a team of professionals—a real estate agent, lender, inspector, and attorney—it should make the home-buying process go more smoothly, especially for first-time buyers.

Real Estate Attorney FAQ’s

How do real estate attorneys get paid?

According to Reischer, real estate attorneys often charge a fixed fee ranging from $750 to $1,250. While most attorneys offer a fixed fee, some charge by the hour, with hourly charges ranging from $150 to $350, according to Thumbtack.

What does a real estate lawyer do?

Real estate attorneys understand how to write and analyze paperwork and contracts relating to the sale and purchase of a home and are legally authorized to do so. In some situations, a real estate attorney will also be in charge of your closing.

What is the #1 law school in America?

Yale Law School

How difficult is law school?

To summarize, law school is challenging. In terms of stress, workload, and required commitment, this program is more difficult than traditional colleges or universities. However, around 40,000 people graduate from law schools each year, indicating that it is clearly possible.

1 comment
  1. Gut zu wissen, was so das Durchschnittsgehalt eines Rechtsanwaltes für Immobilienrecht ist. Ein Wochenlohn von 3600 Dollar ist schon eine Menge. Da lohnt es sich definitiv, diesen Studiengang zu wählen.

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