Attorneys and Real Estate

I had a settlement yesterday for a sold listing at the buyer’s attorney office. The buyer was represented by another agent. My seller chose to not use an attorney, and save around $700.

The attorney for the buyer, who clearly does not practice much residential real estate, was cranky, rude, misinformed, and incompetent. He had lost many faxes we sent to him in preparation for closing. I believe he was really irritated that my seller chose to not use an attorney, and he said so when we asked if his secretary would notarize one of our closing documents. He had many statements about his buyer’s title work which demonstrated his lack of knowledge. Boy, was he in a foul mood.

On one occasion when he left the room, my client said to the buyer “This is why I don’t use attorneys!”.

Which brings me to this point – You’re better off using no attorney than one who is going to make everyone (including his client, a first time buyer) miserable at the settlement table, and make a mess of the closing. In New Jersey, it is your choice. If your attorney is not practicing much residential real estate, in many cases you are better off saving the money or seeking a referral for a good attorney instead.

In South Jersey, the majority of consumers do not use an attorney, while in North Jersey the reverse is true. For the record, I am not anti-attorney. I am anti-bad attorney. I have great respect for the professionalism and expertise of the few attorneys who I refer to my clients.

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