12 Key Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Commercial Real Estate Attorney

Before you ask your Commercial Real Estate Attorney the 12 Power Questions questions, narrow the field to the best candidates you feel will represent your interests like they were theirs. Let’s make it easy, start with people you know and trust or have done business with in the area you wish to purchase and ask for recommendations. People that know you, know how you interact with others, ask for the best fit as they see you.
Get recommendations for quality attorneys from your brokers, property manager and other local investors – you can ask at a local real estate investor’s group meeting, if you don’t know anyone in the area. Trust your gut in the interview, your reputation and success as a professional investor will be influenced by who you invite to your inner circle.
Once you have decided on the best candidates, try to arrange a meeting outside their office, offer to take them to lunch or meet socially through an associate. First impressions do count. Get to know the attorney as a professional and get answers to your questions without feeling intimidated or threatened by their knowledge or lack thereof.
Here are the 12 Key Questions to ask:
Negotiation Experience
1. What is the most complex transaction you have ever been involved with to date?
2. How many Commercial Transactions have you been involved in?
3. Have you represented both a buyer and a seller in a commercial property transaction?
4. How many commercial real estate renegotiation (retrade) contracts have you completed?
Contracts
5. Have you facilitated a commercial transaction, covering all aspects of the closing?
Entities
6. How many entities have you created for clients, including – Limited Liability Companies, Limited Partnerships, etc? Can you write Opinion Letters for Lenders on these entities?
Loans
7. Have you reviewed loan documents before?
8. Have you done loan assumptions before?
9. Have you ever worked with a Lender’s Council to close a property? A lender’s attorney will draft the loan documents and your attorney will work with them.
10. Have you ever worked with Conduit Loans or loans from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac?
Fees and references
11. What are your fees? Hourly or retainer?
12. ASK FOR AND CHECK THREE REFERENCES
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