I get a lot of calls from people looking for quotes on my real estate fees. I completely understand; whenever I am thinking about a big purchase, I shop around too. What I wanted to talk about today was what, exactly, you need to keep in mind when you’re doing your shopping so that you can be comparing apples to apples. Of course the base fee is an easy thing to compare, but you should also consider:
- The lawyer’s experience
- The percentage of the lawyer’s practice that is devoted to real estate
- Whether you will meet the lawyer him- or herself to sign your documents
- Whether you will be able to talk directly to the lawyer about any questions you may have before or after the closing
- Whether the work will be done by the lawyer’s office directly or parts of it outsourced to third parties
Legal fees are a fairly small portion of your total closing costs, once you factor in realtor commissions or land transfer tax, property taxes, and moving costs. All of us want a good deal, but remember: you get what you pay for.