Think of your attorney as your purchase doctor

(Flickr photo by wolfgangphoto)

Would you pick a physician out of the phone book to save your sight? Not likely.

Choosing the right physician obviously is of utmost importance. When it comes to selecting the right lawyer to handle the sale or purchase of a home, that’s pretty important too.

Yet many buyers and sellers tend to be kind of casual about retaining their attorney, though the best process is lot like finding the best cardiac surgeon.

First, you want referrals from friends, colleagues, lenders and, with caveats that I mentioned in a prior post regarding conflicts of interest, real estate brokers.

You’ll want a lawyer who responds to you promptly, takes as much care with shepherding the sale of a studio as with a super-luxurious spread, has experience in your housing market (New York City, especially Manhattan, is different from the rest of the world), charges the going rate (generally $2,000-2,500 for a routine transaction here) and either gives assurances that she will handle your deal personally or makes clear the capabilities of an associate who will work on it too.

As a post on, notes about lawyers:

. . . [I]f you’re buying, selling, or renting a home, they could be the only thing standing between you and financial ruin.

Even as an offer has just been accepted and stress reaches a peak, buyers and sellers are ill-advised to minimize their due diligence. They need to cast a critical eye on potential attorneys, preferably even before an offer drops on the table.

It may not be life or death, but the anguish and expense caused by a poorly written contract or slipshod attention by your attorney to his fiduciary duty could prompt suicidal or homicidal thoughts that no buyer or seller or lawyer ought to endure.

Tomorrow: Weekly Roundup

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201
Web site

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