Q. Now that I have decided to hire an attorney, what should I consider other than price?
A. It is important to remember that you are hiring an attorney to provide you with services. You are not buying a commodity. When buying a commodity, such as a car or an air conditioner, you can research the best brand and model, then just find the lowest price. When shopping for a service provider, most people are looking for inexpensive, fast, and high quality service. The reality is that you can generally only get 2 out of 3. Inexpensive and fast will not be high quality, inexpensive and high quality will not be fast, and high quality and fast will not be inexpensive.
Just as the rates that attorneys charge for representation related to the sale or purchase of a single family home vary, the experience of the attorney and services provided by the attorney vary. Having effective legal counsel to protect your rights in a timely manner is always in your best interest.
Since most attorneys charge a flat rate for representation related to the sale or purchase of a single family home, “inexpensive” is pretty easy to determine. The following are some questions to help you determine whether an attorney will provide “fast” and “high quality”service.
Will the attorney provide the timely personal attention that you deserve? While our experienced staff will generally answer most of your questions and concerns, our attorneys are always available to speak with you directly. At Jacobowitz & Gubits, we strive to return all calls or emails the same business day, and in any event within 24 hours (excluding weekends and holidays).
How long will it take the attorney to draft your contract (sellers) or review your contract and prepare an addendum with changes to protect your interest (buyers)? Your contract can sit on an attorney’s desk for weeks. At Jacobowitz & Gubits, our goal is to draft or review your contract within 24-48 hours.
What happens when there is a scheduling conflict, sickness, or vacation? We all need time off for various reasons. Attorneys are no different. A single attorney can only be in one place at any given time. Will you have to wait until the attorney is available? At Jacobowitz & Gubits, while an individual attorney will be working with you from the start to finish of your transaction, when a need arises you will have our entire Real Estate Team ready to pitch in and assist you.
Is the attorney an experienced real estate attorney? Real estate law, including “simple” single family house transactions, is a specialized area of law. At Jacobowitz & Gubits, the attorneys on our Real Estate Team have over 100 years of combined experience assisting clients with their real estate needs.
What services will the attorney provide? Some attorneys rely on their paralegal or secretary to prepare a contract for a seller or to read the contract and prepare an addendum to the contract to protect the interest of a buyer. Others will just attach their “standard” buyer’s addendum, which often duplicates what is already in the contract or does not address something in the contract that could be disastrous to your interest. In some instances the attorney will never look at your file or they will look at your file for the first time at the closing table. At Jacobowitz & Gubits, an experienced real estate attorney will personally read your contract, prepare and negotiate an addendum to ensure that every detail is properly addressed to protect your interest, and will monitor your transaction from start to finish.
Given the large investment being made in your real estate transaction, choosing Jacobowitz & Gubits to provide you with fast and high quality service is a wise choice.
Now that you have decided to hire an attorney, at what point in the transaction should you get an attorney involved? That question and more will be answered in future installments of this series.
William E. Duquette, Jr. is an associate on the firm’s Real Estate Team. He can be reached by phone at 845-778-2121 toll free or 845-778-2121 and by email.