3 Signs A Real Estate Attorney Is No Good

Q: I’m looking for a good real estate attorney because I’m buying a home. I’ve met with several attorneys so far, but they all kind of seem the same. I know there are some really bad attorneys out there-what signs should I look for to eliminate the bad apples? Jackie, Hagerstown, MD

A: Jackie, I understand your challenge in trying to separate out the bad real estate attorneys.  What I’m going to do is give you 3 signs a real estate attorney is no good:

  1. Attorney promises positive results in advance.  Unless the real estate attorney you are talking to is Nostradamus, he cannot foretell the future, which means that he or she can’t promise you specific results in advance.  If an attorney  is promising you specific results in advance, they may be dishonest or desperate-either way, you probably should move on to the next attorney.

  2. Attorney has no referrals.  Competent, experienced real estate attorneys will get referrals from satisfied clients–if they don’t have any referrals, it may suggest that they’re inexperienced or burned lots of bridges with clients in the past–in either case, think twice before working with them.

  3. Attorney charges high upfront fees.  Unscrupulous attorneys will sometimes ‘test the waters’ to see how much money they can charge you upfront.  I’ve had clients who were charged tens of thousands of dollars by real estate attorneys who accomplished absolutely nothing for them.  Think twice before you pre-pay a real estate attorney for services they have yet to deliver.

Thanks for your question, Jackie, good luck.  For more real estate tips and information, visit my blog at