Understanding How to Select the Best Commercial Real Estate Lawyer

Published: 10-30-21    Category: General CRE

Specializes in providing actionable insights into the commercial real estate space for investors, brokers, lessors, and lessees. He covers quarterly market data reports, investment strategies, how-to guides, and top-down perspectives on market movements.

A commercial real estate lawyer posing

Becoming a real estate investor is exciting; there is truly so much opportunity to build an incredible portfolio. Given enough time, money, and research, you can build a stream of passive income and change your community for the better.

Yet, these goals aren’t without their share of risks and cautions. Indeed, legal issues do arise, and the commercial real estate world is full of contracts. Trying to do everything with a DIY mindset not only cuts down on your ability to grow but it can also expose you to massive risk.

The solution here is to get a commercial real estate lawyer to help you navigate the bigger world of real estate beyond simple single-family homes.

Why a Commercial Real Estate Lawyer Is So Important

A commercial real estate lawyer is so essential because they are your representative. If you have multiple deals going, a CRE attorney can be at your side for each one. They can review contracts and advise you on what to look out for.

If you have to go to court for any reason over a contract dispute, your attorney is able to advocate and defend you without you being present. This direct representation comes in handy when you have to appear in court but have scheduling conflicts.

Every area is different, and there will still be cases where you have to show up with your attorney in tow. We cannot give direct legal advice, so please ensure that you consider your state and local laws.

Can you handle legal paperwork yourself?

A common question is whether or not you can handle your own legal issues on your own. The truth is that legal paperwork can become complex very quickly, and it’s very wise to make sure that you have legal counsel available.

Some essential paperwork may get the fill-in template treatment, but a legal professional knows their legal specialty inside and out. It’s more important to make sure that you are investing in the best professional team around you.

Building a real estate investment portfolio depends on multiple factors, but it’s so much easier to grow when you have the best professionals on your side at the beginning. A reasonable attorney that knows the ins and outs of CRE in your area is truly worth their weight in gold.

Common Concerns About Hiring a Commercial Real Estate Lawyer

Let’s face it: hiring anyone is a stressful experience. How do you know that you can trust their advice? There are plenty of concerns that may cross your mind when you’re trying to hire a commercial real estate lawyer.

First and foremost, you are most likely going to worry about the money. The money paid to an attorney is in exchange for their highly skilled labor, and you should consider this an investment.

Next, try to remember that if you aspire to have a very large portfolio, most big-time investors at that level pay happily for legal counsel. They know that they can’t possibly know everything about real estate law, so they make sure that they have someone that can watch over the legal aspect of their business.

Finally, you have all of the control in the world in terms of hiring the right person. Even if you find that the attorney of your choice isn’t the best fit for your business goals, you can always end your working relationship and start a new search.

What a CRE Attorney Does For You

So, what does a CRE attorney actually do for you? There’s a lot of different tasks that fall under the legal umbrella, but here are a few to focus on:

  • Lease management. While leases can be straightforward, they can also become complicated depending on the property and unique situation in play.
  • Zoning law review. If you want to open a certain business, having an attorney review the zoning laws is always a good idea before you make a deeper investment.
  • Eminent domain. While eminent domain isn’t always a concern, getting an attorney involved is important if an eminent domain claim is made against your property.
  • Working with HOAs and condo associations. If you’re trying to buy a condo or set of condos, you’ll have to work with the condo association and their laws get tricky.
  • Land use concerns. How land is used is managed by state, local, and municipal concerns, and an attorney can help you navigate these points.

The list of tasks is quite lengthy, but these are just a few specialties that CRE attorneys are well versed in. The right attorney will also work with you on unique situations or refer you to someone that has more experience.

Tips for Hiring the Right CRE Lawyer

If you’re looking to take the next step, it’s time to look into hiring an attorney for your own investment portfolio needs. Here’s what you need to know in order to make that happen:

  • Ask for references. Just like with any other project, hiring the right professional is a matter of looking at references. You want to know that the attorney not only has deep CRE knowledge but a track record of serving others well.
  • Ask about their fee structure. The more transparent you can get when it comes to price, the better that you can work their fees into your business’s budget.
  • Consider the projects that you have going. If you are looking to buy another property soon, or perform a 1031 exchange, having an attorney that can advise you on these milestones is a good idea.

The point of getting a CRE lawyer is to have an advocate. Don’t be afraid that you are asking too many questions. Indeed, the lawyer will also have questions for you because they need to make sure that you are someone they should take on as a client. Be prepared for them to make suggestions and recommendations; that’s part of their job.

Protect Your Business with a CRE Lawyer

Hiring a CRE lawyer is genuinely one of the best ways to protect your business. Truthfully, not knowing the law isn’t considered a valid defense. It might take some time to hire the right attorney or law firm to work for you, but once you find the right attorney, things become much easier in the investment property sense.

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