Career Development

What Does a Real Estate Attorney Do?

Find out what a real estate attorney does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a real estate attorney.

Real estate attorneys are in charge of handling all legal matters related to real estate. This includes buying and selling property, drafting contracts, reviewing deeds, managing escrow accounts, etc.

Real estate attorneys may also provide other types of legal services such as tax advice or assistance with wills and trusts.

Real Estate Attorney Job Duties

Real estate attorneys are responsible for a wide range of duties, including:

  • Identifying and negotiating with potential buyers or tenants to determine the best deal for each party involved
  • Negotiating contracts for the purchase or sale of real estate properties, including reviewing contracts for legal compliance and making sure the agreement is fair for both parties
  • Drafting sales contracts for real estate transactions such as home purchases or leases of commercial spaces
  • Communicating with clients about legal matters regarding their real estate holdings, such as drafting notices of default or preparing deeds for property transfers
  • Reviewing prospective properties to assess their value and suitability for purchase or lease by a specific buyer or tenant
  • Advising clients regarding real estate taxation issues such as capital gains tax or depreciation schedules
  • Negotiating sales contracts between buyers and sellers, including negotiating prices, terms, and conditions of sale
  • Drafting documents that establish ownership rights to real estate assets such as deeds and title insurance policies
  • Representing clients in court during foreclosure proceedings or eviction proceedings involving rental properties

Real Estate Attorney Salary & Outlook

Real estate attorneys’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of real estate they specialize in.

  • Median Annual Salary: $105,000 ($50.48/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $183,000 ($87.98/hour)

The employment of real estate attorneys is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Demand for real estate attorneys will stem from the continued growth in commercial real estate and the need for legal services related to real estate transactions. In addition, demand for real estate attorneys will continue to come from the need to review and update real estate documents, such as leases and deeds, as well as to draft new types of real estate contracts, such as those for shared office space and mobile homes.

Real Estate Attorney Job Requirements

In order to become a real estate attorney, one typically needs to have the following:

Education: Realtors and real estate attorneys need a bachelor’s degree to get started in their careers. Realtors can earn a degree in real estate, business or a related field. Realtors can also earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree and specialize in real estate law.

Training & Experience: Real estate attorneys receive most of their training through internships and entry-level positions. During an internship, a real estate attorney will learn the basics of the field, including how to draft legal documents, how to conduct research and how to interact with clients.

Certifications & Licenses: To practice real estate law, you must pass the Real Estate Licensing Examination (RELE) offered by the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries. You must also have a license to practice real estate in your state. Each state has different requirements for getting a real estate license, but they usually involve completing education and experience requirements.

Real Estate Attorney Skills

Real estate attorneys need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication skills: Real estate attorneys communicate with a variety of people, including clients, other attorneys, real estate agents, lenders and other professionals. They use verbal and written communication skills to convey information and negotiate contracts.

Negotiation skills: Negotiation is the process by which two parties come to an agreement. Real estate attorneys use negotiation skills to help clients buy and sell properties. They may also use negotiation skills to help clients agree on contract terms and conditions.

Attention to detail: Real estate attorneys often review contracts and other legal documents, which require attention to detail. Attention to detail can help real estate attorneys notice any errors or inconsistencies in a contract or other legal document. This can help them negotiate more favorable terms for their clients.

Analytical skills: Real estate attorneys often use analytical skills to review contracts, assess risks and develop strategies for their clients. They may use analytical skills to review a client’s financial situation and determine if they can afford a mortgage. They may also use analytical skills to determine if a property is a good investment.

Business acumen: Real estate attorneys often work with businesses and individuals who are looking to invest in real estate. This means they need to have a good understanding of business practices and how to structure real estate transactions. They may also work with businesses that are looking to develop real estate and need to understand the legal requirements for doing so.

Real Estate Attorney Work Environment

Real estate attorneys work in law firms, real estate firms, and government agencies. They typically work a standard 40-hour week, although they may work longer hours to meet deadlines or attend evening meetings. Some real estate attorneys travel to attend conferences or to meet with clients. Real estate attorneys may work on a variety of projects at the same time and must be able to juggle multiple deadlines. The work can be stressful, and real estate attorneys must be able to handle pressure and work well under pressure.

Real Estate Attorney Trends

Here are three trends influencing how real estate attorneys work. Real estate attorneys will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Growth of Real Estate Tech

The real estate industry is changing rapidly as technology becomes more prevalent. This is especially true for the legal side of things, where attorneys are increasingly using technology to help them with their work.

Real estate attorneys who want to stay ahead of the curve should focus on learning how to use technology in their practice. This includes learning how to use software such as document management systems and electronic signatures. It also means becoming familiar with new technologies that may be used in the future, such as blockchain.

More Focus on Development Projects

As development projects become more common, real estate attorneys will need to focus on these types of deals.

Development projects can involve a wide range of activities, including purchasing land, obtaining permits, and negotiating with contractors. As a result, real estate attorneys who specialize in this area will be in high demand. They will need to be able to understand the complex legal issues involved in these projects and be able to navigate the often-tricky waters of negotiations.

A Greater Emphasis on Cybersecurity

As businesses become more reliant on digital technology, the need for cybersecurity professionals has grown exponentially. This trend is particularly evident in the real estate industry, where brokers and agents are increasingly using online tools to conduct business.

As a result, real estate attorneys who are knowledgeable about cybersecurity can be extremely valuable to their clients. They can help to ensure that their data is protected from hackers and other cyber threats.

How to Become a Real Estate Attorney

A real estate attorney career path can be very rewarding. It offers the opportunity to work with a variety of clients and help them achieve their goals. You may find that you enjoy working with buyers, sellers, landlords, or tenants.

No matter which area of real estate law you choose to specialize in, it’s important to keep up-to-date on the latest laws and regulations. You can do this by reading legal journals, attending continuing education courses, and networking with other attorneys.

Advancement Prospects

Most real estate attorneys advance by taking on more responsibility and complex cases. As they gain experience, they may be promoted to partner or managing partner in their firm. Some real estate attorneys may move into academia, teaching at law schools. Others may become involved in real estate development or investment.

Real Estate Attorney Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we’re looking for an experienced real estate attorney to join our team and provide legal counsel on a variety of real estate transactions, including sales, purchases, leases, and financing. The ideal candidate will have experience with all aspects of real estate law and be able to provide sound legal advice to our clients. He or she will be responsible for reviewing and drafting documents, negotiating terms, and attending closings. The successful candidate will be a self-starter with excellent communication and negotiation skills.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Review and prepare real estate documents, such as purchase agreements, deeds, and leases
  • Advise clients on real estate transactions, zoning regulations, and land-use restrictions
  • Negotiate real estate contracts on behalf of clients
  • Resolve title disputes and other issues that may arise during a real estate transaction
  • Conduct due diligence on behalf of clients to ensure that they are aware of all potential risks associated with a particular property
  • Represent clients in court if a real estate dispute goes to trial
  • Prepare and file paperwork with local, state, and federal government agencies
  • Keep abreast of changes in real estate law and advise clients accordingly
  • Develop relationships with real estate agents, brokers, and other professionals in the industry
  • Stay up to date on trends in the real estate market
  • Attend continuing education courses to maintain bar membership and stay current on legal developments
  • Serve as a mentor to junior attorneys and paralegals

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • JD from an accredited law school
  • Admission to a state bar
  • 3-5 years of experience as a real estate attorney
  • Extensive knowledge of real estate law, including contracts, leases, titles, and closings
  • Strong negotiation and drafting skills
  • Excellent research and writing ability
  • Superior communication and interpersonal skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • LLM in real estate law
  • Experience with commercial real estate transactions
  • Familiarity with tax law, zoning regulations, and environmental issues
  • Ability to speak more than one language fluently

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