Buying a home? Leasing commercial space? Purchasing a piece of land? You probably want to consider talking to a real estate attorney before making any big decisions and signing on a dotted line. If you don’t know a lot about real estate law, or law in general, you may want to consider doing some background research and asking these questions before you formally hire an attorney.

How long have you been practicing real estate law?

Just like looking for a doctor or an electrician, you want to know how long they’ve been practicing in their field to get the best experience as possible. The same goes for attorneys.

However, there’s one tip you may want to keep in mind. It’s only natural to want to look for someone who has years to experience. But with that experience comes a hefty price tag. If you’re planning on asking your real estate attorney about something simple, maybe you might want to consider hiring an attorney  with only a few years of real world experience for a cheaper price. But If you’re dealing with something complex, you probably want someone with more years of practice.

How long have you been practicing real estate law in my state?

Remember that real estate laws are not the same around the country — they vary by state. This is an important question you want to ask the attorney to make sure they’re aware of the laws in your specific state.

How many cases similar to mine have you handled?

Similar to the question “How long have you been practicing real estate law,” knowing how many cases similar to yours is something you should ask the attorney. This will give you a hint as to what to expect from them with their level of experience with your case. If the attorney has dealt with a few cases similar to yours, you can be sure that they can foresee potential problems before they arise and the process may go by quickly if they have handled cases similar to yours.

How will I be billed?

Ask the attorney how often, how much, and when you will be billed for their service. Most attorneys bill by the hour based on how long they work on your case.

If you have a case that requires meeting with another party or attending court, you will probably be billed by the hour. However, sometimes you can negotiate the price if the situation is right. If you have a simple case, you may ask if the attorney will give you a flat fee for their services.

Should I hire an attorney if I’m buying or selling a home?

Everyone should hire an attorney for this important milestone in your life. You will be signing many contracts and large sums of money will be involved. You always want to protect yourself and your interests to make sure this exciting process for you will go as smooth as possible.