An Experienced Commercial Real Estate Attorney Will Provide the Best Guidance Related to Your Transaction – Learn How to Find One in This Article
If you’re buying commercial real estate in Colorado or thinking about selling your commercial building, hiring a commercial real estate broker is likely the first professional that came to mind. But have you put much thought into how to identify a reputable real estate attorney? Selecting an experienced real estate attorney to represent the acquisition of commercial space or the sale of your commercial property will give you the upper hand during the transaction process. In the following article, we will outline some questions to keep top of mind so you can feel confident when identifying a good commercial real estate attorney.
Are you a real estate attorney?
I.e. do you have direct experience supporting the sale or acquisition of commercial real estate in Colorado?
The most important question to ask your prospective attorney is, “Do you have any real and related experience?” If the attorney answers that they don’t have experience or they have limited experience, they are probably not the best professional for your requirements. Industry experience gives an attorney the upper hand in negotiations and they will have familiarity with the process, zoning requirements, and deal terms to ensure that your commercial transaction goes smoothly. Asking questions about their experience in your specific segment of commercial real estate is another way to dive deeper into their understanding of your specific needs.
What is the fee structure for your services?
Fee structures can vary from attorney to attorney. Some operate on an hourly rate or monthly retainer, and some may even offer flat rates for common services. While using the most affordable commercial real estate attorney may not always be the best route, it is a good idea to understand your financial commitment. This way you can make an educated decision about your attorney while also being aware of your budget. The following options are the most common billing structures:
- Hourly or Per Diem Rate. Most attorneys bill by the hour, so that you only pay for the services you use. If travel is involved, they may bill by the day. Even when working at an hourly rate, most attorneys can give estimates for how long they think various parts of a transaction will take.
- Flat Fee. Some attorneys suggest a flat fee for certain routine matters, such as reviewing a contract or closing a loan.
- Monthly Retainer. If you anticipate a lot of routine questions, and need priority access to an attorney, one option is a monthly fee that entitles you to all the routine legal advice you need.
- Contingent Fee. For plaintiff-side lawsuits or other complex matters, lawyers often work on a contingency basis. This means that if they succeed, they receive a percentage of the proceeds, usually between 25 and 40 percent. If they fail, they receive only out-of-pocket expenses. This is highly unusual for representation on business transactions.
- Value Billing. Some law firms bill at a higher rate on business matters if the attorneys obtain a favorable result, such as negotiating a contract that saves the client thousands of dollars. Try to avoid lawyers who use this method, which is also sometimes called “partial contingency.”
Do you have references I can speak with?
Conducting a reference check is a valuable way to vet any professional you work with and an attorney is no different. What better way is there to understand the level of service and experience of an attorney than through their prior clients. This is a great way to understand how they conduct transactions, their response times, and get an overall idea of the satisfaction level of their service. Another way to identify a good attorney is to check if they belong to their local industry associations, like the Colorado Bar Association.
Hiring an attorney for your commercial property transaction doesn’t have to be overwhelming, with this guide for reference. It is Transworld Commercial’s aim to be a support for you with every aspect of your commercial acquisition or sale process, so give us a call today with any questions you may have.
Rachael Holstein is the Marketing Manager for Transworld Commercial Real Estate, a full service commercial real estate firm in Denver, Colorado. Her work experience has been largely focused on business development and marketing in business brokerage, finance, architecture, property management, and information technology. A long time resident of Cleveland, Ohio, she attained her undergrad from John Carroll University and her Master’s Degree from Cleveland State University. In 2013, she relocated to Denver with her husband, Joe, and her furry companions to explore the mile high lifestyle! Visit transworldcre.com for more information.