Unless you’re a real estate agent, the only part of real estate that you’re familiar with is probably the buying and selling of houses. But have you ever thought about real estate law? With all of the conflicts that come up in a real estate transaction, real estate law is an extremely important field. But what exactly happens at a real estate law practice behind the scenes? Here are a few facts you probably didn’t know about real estate practice:
1) Each day is different.
When it comes to real estate practice, there is no such thing as a “typical day in the office.” Depending on the type and stage of the transaction being worked on, each day has its own tasks. There is a unique set of issues that comes with each transaction, and how you handle those issues affects the way a workday will unfold. A work day may include drafting, reviewing, and negotiating documents necessary for a particular transaction, such as sale agreements, loan documents, leases and other ancillary documents. Otherwise, the day could include performing extensive due diligence, such as reviewing surveys, titles, third-party reports and other items necessary for developing a comprehensive legal understanding of the project.
2) Real estate is impacted by business cycles and economic trends.
Real estate practice is largely affected by market trends, especially economic trends. When the economy is growing and interest rates are low, the real estate market often prospers. There are usually a lot of real estate acquisitions and refinancings during those times. The growth in the real estate market is also often fueled by the emergence of commercial mortgage-backed securities financing for real estate projects. During recessionary periods, on the other hand, retailers are often reluctant to open new stores to expand their footprint. Lenders are cautious about making new loans for real estate during these times as well. These trends have an impact on the pool of real estate transactions that occur.
3) Law firms typically have attorneys with varying levels of experience.
A small transaction usually consists of one law firm partner, one associate and sometimes a paralegal. A larger transaction that involves multiple properties usually includes multiple junior and senior associates in addition to a law firm partner. This is so that the firm can meet the client’s expectations in a timely manner. During the course of a deal, it is common for a junior lawyer to work with a more senior attorney or a law firm partner. The junior associate may be asked to sit in on conference calls between the partner and the client, or between the partner and the opposing counsel. In some cases, a junior associate might be asked to reach out to third parties in order to complete discrete tasks on a transaction.
Real estate practice is a subset of law that is often overlooked. However, there are a lot of legal issues that come up in real estate, and without real estate practice, none of them would be solved. I hope this information about real estate practice has given you a bit more insight into the importance of this field and what happens behind the scenes.