So, what does a Real Estate lawyer really do?
Good question. Lemme Google that.
Investopedia.com, Jan. 4, 2020: "A real estate attorney is equipped to prepare and review documents relating to purchase agreements, mortgage documents, title documents and transfer documents. A real estate attorney hired to handle a transaction will always attend the closing with the buyer." From that I gather that they are... "equipped...?" To prepare and review documents... so, read and write things I guess? relating to purchase agreements, mortgage documents, title documents and transfer documents.
Okay, so we read stuff and then we do something with to make sure it's okay and we pass it on. That, in its entirety, is the real estate legal services industry. Sure, you have to know a lot of law, and there's a lot of nuance to different aspects of every transaction. At the end of the day, all you're really doing is hiring people to read and write real estate documents involved in purchases. We go through every provision, title, chapter, etc. in a document - be it sales contracts, real estate agreement, broker agreement, mortgage agreements, underwriting agreements, so on and so forth, to check if they look good.
And yes, much of it is boilerplate. Sometimes, things are thrown in to throw liability one way or the other. The trick is, to find those curveballs and anticipate what to do with them. That comes through experience. So, basically, over time, people have trusted you to know what you're talking about and saying when it comes to interpreting the law. And bam, you are a lawyer. If you want to somehow get your hand in the giant investor pie that is the real estate market, start studying real estate law, and become the middle person.
BOOM. Big Shiny Words. "Real Estate Lawyer."
You do have to know a whole lot about how real estate transactions work. Understand who to talk to, how to clear title, what to do when someone is trying to back out beyond a certain deadline that got shifted a few times. Then there's all these formulas to throw in to make sure everybody gets their share of the money. Taxes, gotta make sure you're paying all the right authorities. Permits. Keeping track of a lot of spinning disks. At a certain point, the basic commodity you're selling is your brain and its processing power to get through all these documents quickly and succintly. And if anything in the transaction goes wrong, because you messed up, didn't look at the calendar right, or because someone else did and they still need someone on the winning side of the negotiation to take the heat, the fall, the slam - you, that's you - that's the lawyer. You're going to be out there, in public, with the people, saying the things in a language they would like to hear. You're technically assessing and taking the risks on behalf of someone who doesn't want to think about that. So, sure, that's great. And it takes experience. However, aside from certain aspects of the law that a lot of people generally don't know about, you're not doing a whole much of a lot else from what you already did in law school. The more one thinks of it, the more silly it is. Which is why making blogs like these is a bit annoying to me, as all it serves to do is get Google SEO to track back the words real estate legal services back to them, and on to the first page of Google.
That's my life. Writing things to get Google's attention.
Thanks folks. Join me on 1/21/21 and ask me what you want to know about real estate law.