UncategorizedWhat Your Clients Can Expect During an Initial Consultation With a Real Estate Attorney

For clients exploring the real estate market, meeting with a real estate attorney is a crucial step in safeguarding their interests and guaranteeing that their transactions adhere to legal standards. This information not only equips your clients with confidence but also streamlines the transaction process. 

In today’s blog post, we provide an overview of what clients can expect in their introductory session with a real estate attorney.

Understanding the Process

The initial consultation is an opportunity for the attorney to provide an overview of the real estate transaction process. 

Clients will learn about the key stages of buying or selling property, including drafting and reviewing contracts, conducting due diligence, closing procedures, and addressing any potential legal issues. The purpose of this part of the consultation is to demystify the legal aspects of real estate transactions and set clear expectations for what lies ahead.

Review of Documents

Clients should send any relevant documents to their consultation. 

For buyers, this could include the purchase agreement, Disclosure Report, Inspection Report, property listings, or correspondence with the seller or broker. Sellers might bring copies of the home’s title, any existing mortgage documents, and home inspection reports. 

The attorney will review these documents to understand the specifics of the transaction, identify any potential legal concerns, and advise on the necessary next steps.

Identifying Potential Issues

One of the primary benefits of consulting with a real estate attorney is their ability to foresee potential legal challenges that could impact the transaction. 

Whether it’s issues with the title, zoning laws, physical issues, or discrepancies in the property’s listing versus its actual condition, the attorney will outline these concerns and suggest proactive solutions. This foresight can save clients time, money, and stress in the long run. With good legal advice, parties can seek to terminate the contract to prevent litigation in the future.

Determining the Best Way to Take Title

There are two critical issues buyers need to address early on.  

If they are not married, they need to consider a partnership agreement. The cost of a partnership agreement is minuscule compared to the cost of dividing up the property where there is no written agreement to guide the division of the property. Consider that one party might contribute more to the down payment, the mortgage payments, and the sweat equity. Without a partnership agreement, the statutory language for partition of the property can cause the division of property to be substantially uneven and the cost of the lawsuit to be substantial (tens of thousands of dollars).

The other issue is to determine how title will be held between the parties. Unmarried couples cannot take title as Tenants by the Entirety. If they are going to be getting married, they need to decide whether they are taking title as Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common. Once they are married, they should deed the property to themselves as Tenants by the Entirety.

These issues show how important it is to have good legal representation.

Establishing a Communication Plan

The initial consultation will often conclude with establishing a plan for ongoing communication. 

This includes determining how often the attorney will update the client on their case’s progress, the preferred methods of communication (email, phone calls, in-person meetings), and who the primary point of contact will be. 

Setting these expectations early enables clients to feel informed and supported throughout their real estate journey.

Discussion of Legal Fees

A crucial aspect of the initial consultation involves discussing legal fees. 

Real estate attorneys may charge differently—some may offer flat-rate fees for certain services, while others might bill hourly. Understanding the cost structure and what services are included is essential for clients to budget appropriately for legal expenses. 

Transparency in this area prevents surprises and builds trust between the client and the attorney.

The initial consultation with a real estate attorney is a foundational step in any property transaction. By preparing your clients for what to expect, they can enter these meetings informed and ready to engage productively. Ultimately, the knowledge and peace of mind gained from this consultation can significantly contribute to a smoother, more secure real estate experience.

The Minchella & Associates Difference


With over 40 years of experience in Illinois real estate law, Erica Minchella has represented thousands of home sellers and buyers, landlords, and commercial and investment property owners. For more information, schedule a consultation today.

7538 St. Louis Ave Skokie IL 60076


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