What do real estate attorneys do?

Real estate attorneys are professionals who specialize in, and apply their legal skills to, matters related to property, from everyday transactions to disputes. A real estate attorney is equipped to prepare and review documents relating to real estate such as purchase agreements, mortgage documents, title documents and transfer documents. Real estate attorneys also often handle closings – that is, when an individual or entity purchases a piece of real property from another person or entity.

In most cases, the real estate attorney provides legal guidance for individuals relating to the purchase or sale of real property. He or she ensures the transfer is legal, binding and in the best interest of the client he or she represents. During the purchase of a property, the real estate attorney and staff often prepare all closing documents, write title insurance policies, complete title searches on the property and handle the transfer of funds for the purchase. The attorney, or his or her team, also prepares forms such as the HUD-1 Form and related transfer of funds documentation for the buyer's lender (if the purchase is being financed).

In the case of a real estate dispute, such as chain of title, lot line problems or other issues involving contracts, an attorney works to resolve the problems. He might work for either side and provide legal representation for the parties in a courtroom setting. The real estate attorney obtains facts from both sides of the dispute and tries to come to a resolution that works for everyone involved. This may mean hiring a surveyor or title company to work through some of the details.