What Do Property Lawyers Do?

Autumn Rivers

Property lawyers help their clients with buying or selling real estate, which is why this type of lawyer is often also called a real estate attorney. Whether clients are purchasing or selling residential or commercial real estate, property lawyers are available to make the process go smoothly. For example, it is the job of this type of lawyer to explain the terms to the client before any transactions are made, because property law can be difficult to understand without help. Clients planning to sell or give away property as a gift are encouraged to seek real estate attorneys, as are those considering buying real estate.

A property lawyer will explain laws to their client before any transaction to avoid unwise decisions with regard to property.
A property lawyer will explain laws to their client before any transaction to avoid unwise decisions with regard to property.

It is expected that property lawyers explain the laws to their clients before making any transactions to keep the clients from making an unwise decision when buying or selling property. Real estate lawyers often research the history of the property in question and tell their clients about any legal problems that might be present. For example, it is the responsibility of the lawyer to find out about any disputes over who will get the property after the owner passes away, or who owns the land on which a property sits. Those who are not sure whether they need a property lawyer are encouraged to schedule a consultation to become clear on the various details of property law before making a decision.

Real estate lawyers often research the history of properties.
Real estate lawyers often research the history of properties.

Some people benefit from property lawyers when selling or giving away real estate. The job of the property lawyer is to negotiate the terms of the sale, solve any problems with the title and prepare the deed. The lawyer should also be at the closing to look over and explain any papers the seller must sign. In the event of a client giving away property to loved ones as a present, the property lawyer must ensure that his client legally owns it and it is the client's to give away. This can prevent legal repercussions in case the title of a property is not clear.

The job of property lawyers is similar when clients are considering purchasing a house, because they must first make sure it is free of liens and any other impediments that might prevent clients from becoming the legal owners of the real estate. Once the research on the property has been completed, the legal documents need to be prepared. Payment terms, including taxes and closing costs, need to be determined, after which the closing will take place. Before this occurs, though, the lawyer needs to obtain title insurance for the client and then review any papers that need to be signed. These tasks result in the client avoiding legal problems after he buys property.

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Discussion Comments


@Vincenzo -- That is precisely why property law can be a malpractice trap. It is a difficult thing to deal with and a lawyer who doesn't know what he or she is doing can give a client some bad advice in a hurry.

The lesson here is pretty simple. Don't get involved in that area of law unless you know what the pitfalls are and how to avoid them.


A lot of property lawyers wind up in working in title companies. In fact, that is a very steady, reliable source of work for those attorneys and title companies are always in need of them.

Title companies, of course, essentially write insurance policies covering land transferred from a seller to a buyer. Those policies state that the title company will pay damages and related expenses if the seller could not transfer good title.

Property law is a difficult area because of the lack of great records in earlier days when property records weren't that great. A good property lawyer can find those problems and warn the title company about them.

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