Real Estate Lawyers
Real estate lawyers, called property lawyers or solicitors in the UK, can help both buyers and sellers with the legal requirements involved in a property exchanging hands.
Property lawyers are often called conveyancers. But this is not to say that property lawyers only deal with buying and selling of properties. They also deal with boundary disputes, leasing issues – on behalf of both tenants and landlords, mortgages, nuisance and trespass problems and planning permission for extensions or outbuildings. They can also talk their clients through every aspect of property law, especially when the property in question is subject to restrictions due to its age or local zoning regulations.
Buying and selling properties can differ just by the nature of the property. Is it a commercial property suitable for an office block or a purely residential building? If it is the latter, is it part of a terrace or a semi-detached home, or does it stand alone? In the case of properties attached to other homes, there is a requirement to be respectful of those homes, for example, not planning to tear down the entire building, without first informing your neighbour and taking steps to ensure that their home is not damaged or negatively affected by the demolition and ensuing construction work. Your property lawyer can help you navigate this process, keeping you compliant and your neighbour happy.
Property law in the UK can be very confusing and complicated, which is why it is always a good idea to hire a solicitor to guide you through the process. If you express interest in a property, perhaps even putting down a deposit on it, but then need to pull out due to unforeseen circumstances, the vendor may sue you for the difference in the event that the property market falls and the property sells for less than you would have paid – and win! There are several cases where vendors have successfully sued to regain the 'lost' monies from such cases, and it is certain that the would-be buyer in each case would be sorely affected by having to pay a sizeable sum towards a property in which they have no ownership rights! By putting the matter into the hands of a reputable property solicitor from the very first, this situation may be avoiding as the lawyer will know how to avoid expressing interest until the full funding was available or at least guaranteed.
When choosing a property lawyer there are several facts to take into account. Some property lawyers have a set 'price list' per task, while others prefer to charge a percentage of the property value. Other fees may be incurred for other legal duties, such as filing papers at court, or with the relevant authorities, so do be sure to ask if there will be any additional costs that you will have to pay. Where possible, try to get at least three independent quotations for the services you require before you commit yourself to any one firm.
- In 2005 Robert McGregor, the top property lawyer from Berwick Leighton Paisner earned an impressive £1.3 million – making him the top earning solicitor in the United Kingdom and leading a relatively small group of lawyers who earned over a million pounds that year
- Try to find a property lawyer that is not too busy or too young and inexperienced. Do not be scared to ask for their CV, after all, you will be paying them for their services, exactly as if you were employing someone to work for you!
- Ask around for recommendations from people you trust to find the best property lawyer for you. Also make sure that you pick someone with an intensive knowledge of the local area – an 'import' may not know about flood-prone areas for example!
The top ten property law firms and individuals according to Legal 500, the comprehensive and up-to-date lawyers directory are as follows:
DLA Piper UK LLP
Osbourne Clarke LLP
SNR Denton Wragge & Co LLP
Addleshaw Goddard LLP
Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP (as mentioned above)
Brown Jacobson LLP
Davenport Lyons Dechert LLP