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Lead Counsel independently verifies attorneys by conferring with state bar associations and conducting annual reviews to confirm that an attorney practices in their advertised practice areas and possesses a valid bar license for the appropriate jurisdictions.

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Are You Dealing with a Real Estate Law Issue?

Dealing with a real estate matter can be stressful, confusing and complex. No matter if you are selling a property or you want to purchase a property, you should speak with an experienced Philadelphia real estate attorney. Your attorney will be able to help you with contract negotiations, avoid transaction disputes and possibly save time and frustration.

Different Types of Real Estate Cases

Real estate law covers a wide range of issues related to real property law. Some of these areas involve purchasing or selling real estate, renting real property and taxation issues associated to these activities. Bear in mind, real estate laws vary from state to state, so it is important to get the right information and guidance.

Whether you are buying or selling a home, this represents a substantial investment. It is important to protect your rights. Working with an experienced real estate attorney will guide you through the legal implications.

What does contingent mean in real estate?

In a real estate transaction like the sale of a house, a “contingency” clause in the contract acts as a way to cancel the contract if a certain event were to happen. For instance, if you make an offer and the seller accepts it, you may negotiate a contingency that accounts for a poor housing inspection allowing you to back out of the deal. If you need to sell your home as well, you could negotiate a contingency that allows you to back out of buying the new home if you can’t sell your current one.

What is a short sale?

A short sale is when the seller is selling the property for less than is owed on the mortgage. This could be a bank that repossessed the home in a foreclosure. In this case, the bank would sell the house, essentially hoping to get someone to buy the house, and the bank will forgive the difference that remains on the original mortgage. A short sale often presents a good opportunity to the right buyer who needs to save a bit of money.

Do I need a real estate lawyer or a real estate broker?

A broker (also known as an agent or realtor) represents people in the home buying or selling process. But they may not be as experienced when it comes to contract negotiations as a real estate lawyer. While you may not need a real estate lawyer for your home sale, they can help you deal with any unexpected roadblocks to the sale process. Some states also require a real estate attorney for any contract signings. If you are unsure, you could schedule a consultation.

Top Questions to Ask When Hiring an Attorney

  • How many years have you been practicing law? How long have you practiced law in the local area?
  • How many cases similar to mine have you handled in the past?
  • What is the likely outcome for my case?

In legal practice, experience matters. An experienced attorney will likely have handled issues similar to yours many, many times. Therefore, after listening to your situation, the attorney should have a reasonable idea of the time line for a case like yours and the likely resolution.

Tips on Approaching an Initial Attorney Consultation

  • Use the consultation as a means of gaining a better understanding of your legal situation.
  • Ask the attorney how many cases similar to yours he/she has handled. An attorney’s experience and knowledge can speak to their expertise (or lack of) in addressing your situation.
  • Your attorney should be able to articulate roughly how long a case like yours will take to resolve and what sort of procedures to expect.
  • Determine how comfortable you are working with the lawyer and/or law firm.

Types of legal fees:

Bill by the hour: Many attorneys bill by the hour. How much an attorney bills you per hour will vary based on a number of factors. For instance, an attorney’s hourly fee may fluctuate based on whether that hour is spent representing you in court or doing research on your case. Attorneys in one practice area may bill you more than attorneys in a different practice area.

Contingent fee: Some lawyers will accept payment via contingent fee. In this arrangement, the lawyer receives a percentage of the total monetary recovery if you win your lawsuit. In sum, the lawyer only gets paid if you win. Contingent fee agreements are limited to specific practice areas in civil law.

Flat fee: For “routine” legal work where the attorney generally knows the amount of time and resources necessary to complete the task, he/she may be willing to bill you a flat fee for services performed.

Common legal terms explained

Personal jurisdiction – Requirement that a particular court have authority over a person, in order to bind that person to the judgment of the court, based on minimum contacts. International Shoe Co v. Washington is a landmark Supreme Court case outlining the scope of a state court’s reach in personal jurisdiction.

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