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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 Houston 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.

The Importance of a Good Consultation

The goal of an initial consultation is to find an attorney you are comfortable working with and someone who can help you understand your options under the law. Seek to understand the relevant legal experience the attorney brings to your case. While it is not realistic to expect an attorney to resolve your legal issue during an initial consultation, you should gain a level of comfort with his/her ability to do so. A good consultation can clarify issues, raise pertinent questions and considerations for your case, and help you make an informed decision towards resolving your legal issue.

How much does it cost to hire an attorney?

In general, how much an attorney costs will often depend on these four factors: billing method and pricing structure, type of legal work performed, law firm prestige, and attorney experience. Depending on the legal issue you are facing, an attorney may bill you by the hour, settle on a flat fee, or enter into a contingency fee agreement. The type of legal work you need help with will also play a role in cost incurred.

Common legal terms explained

Pro se – This Latin term refers to representing yourself in court instead of hiring professional legal counsel. Pro se representation can occur in either criminal or civil cases.

Statute – Refers to a law created by a legislative body. For example, the laws enacted by Congress are statutes.

Subject matter jurisdiction – Requirement that a particular court have authority to hear the claim based on the specific type of issue brought to the court. For example, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court only has subject matter jurisdiction over bankruptcy filings, therefore it does not have the authority to render binding judgment over other types of cases, such as divorce.

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