How to Find a Good Real Estate Lawyer

Unlike some other U.S. states, California does not mandate that all parties to a real estate transaction hire attorneys to represent them at the closing.

However, it can be in your best interest to hire a real estate lawyer if you’re renting, buying, or selling a house, piece of land, or commercial building.

What’s a Real Estate Attorney – And How Can They Help You?

A real estate lawyer is someone licensed to offer advice on relevant real estate laws and handle legal tasks related to property transactions.

Whether you’re a renter, seller, buyer, or lender, the attorney’s main responsibility during the transaction process is to represent your interests. For example, if you engage a real estate attorney to help you buy a house, they’ll strive to shield you from any unknown liabilities that might be attached to the home.

A real estate attorney’s major functions include:

  • Negotiating Property Deals. Experienced real estate attorneys handle property transactions every day, and they can use their expertise to negotiate for you a fair price for your dream home with reasonable terms and conditions.
  • Drafting and Reviewing Contracts. The lawyer ensures that the real estate contract, whether it be for a rental, mortgage, or purchase agreement, is legally sound and has all the necessary clauses to protect your interests.
  • Performing Title Searches. A title search is crucial when buying real estate since it shows that the seller is the legitimate owner of the property and can transfer ownership to you. 

The search also tells you if the property has any liens on it, whether all property taxes have been paid, if there are any unresolved problems with the real estate that might prohibit you from gaining ownership of it, and much more.

A real estate lawyer may file a quiet title action if a title search uncovers a problem with a property that cannot be quickly resolved. A quiet title action is a lawsuit that asks anyone with a claim on the property to come forward or risk having their rights revoked by a court.

  • Title Insurance Policy Drafting and Review. A title search might miss some liens or ownership problems on a piece of property. Any third-party claims that might materialize after a real estate transaction closes will be covered by title insurance.
  • Resolving Property Disputes. The lawyer can represent you if you’re involved in a property disagreement by mediating a settlement or, if litigation ensues, appearing on your behalf in court.

A real estate lawyer may also represent you in judicial foreclosure proceedings, file a property change-of-use petition with the municipality on your behalf, draft and review leases and sublease agreements for both commercial and residential properties, negotiate construction agreements, and help draft home association rules that specify what property owners can and cannot do with their properties.

How to Find a Real Estate Attorney 

If you choose to hire a San Diego, California, real estate lawyer because you want an unbiased third party to evaluate contracts and protect your interests during property transactions, here are a few tips to assist you find the finest lawyer to work with.

  • Request Referrals from Your Family, Friends, and Personal Network. If someone you know has sold or bought a house and they engaged an attorney, you could ask them who they worked with and learn about their experience. This will help you know how the attorney handles real estate transactions and whether you might get along with them.

These days, social media is big, so you may also ask your contacts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., to recommend a reliable real estate lawyer. A recommendation from trustworthy coworkers, business contacts, acquaintances, or family members can greatly improve the efficiency of your real estate transactions.

  • Use Official Referral Sources. You can find competent real estate law attorneys in your area by contacting your local state bar association. If you need assistance finding their website, use the American Bar Association directory.
  • Research Online. There are many legal websites you can use to find details about reputable real estate lawyers in your area, including their specialty, rates, and client reviews.

How to Choose the Best Real Estate Lawyer for You 

Once you’ve shortlisted a few real estate attorneys, there are several things you can take into account to help you pick one.

  • Experience

Individual real estate lawyers provide different types of services. Some have general knowledge covering all forms of property transactions, while others specialize in residential house development, sale, and purchase, commercial building transactions, such as office space, etc.

You should work with a lawyer that has years of experience in the type of real estate your transactions will concern.

  • Local Knowledge

A real estate attorney who is knowledgeable about the most recent local property laws will ensure you comply with these rules and avoid expensive real estate transaction mistakes.

  • Availability

Inquire about their client load when interviewing prospective real estate lawyers.

You can tell by their response if they’ll be available when you call or text them, as well as how much time they’ll likely spend assisting you with your legal needs.

You should also find out if they work independently or with a team. If your real estate lawyer isn’t available, you might be able to get help from one of their colleagues if they have a team.

But if you work with a personal attorney, you can get to know them well and rely on them to offer you solid legal advice on all your real estate transactions.

  • References

It’s acceptable to request client testimonials from a real estate lawyer. If they’re unwilling to offer references from prior clients or are unable to do so, you should be wary of hiring them.

  • Legal Fees

The decision to engage a lawyer is a personal one because like I said earlier California doesn’t require you to consult a real estate attorney while completing a property deal.

So, you’ll probably want to keep the expense of legal fees as low as possible.

The majority of lawyers bill their clients on an hourly basis, but your prospective attorney may impose a flat fee or bill you in a hybrid way.

Whatever pricing option they suggest to you, be sure you’re comfortable with the cost of the legal consultations to prevent billing issues down the road if you decide to hire them.

Gallagher Krich, APC: Experienced San Diego, California, Real Estate Attorneys

If you’re searching for a skilled lawyer to assist you with real estate transactions and disputes, such as purchase agreements, construction contracts, leasing agreements, sellers’ nondisclosure, real estate mediation, issues involving homeowners associations, and much more, contact Gallagher Krich, APC today at (858) 926-5797 to schedule a consultation.

Once you get in touch, you can be confident that you’ll get the best legal assistance to conclude your real estate deal with the best terms and conditions possible with the guidance of our knowledgeable real estate attorneys, who have more than 30 years of combined legal experience.

To arrange a free consultation to learn more about California real estate law, get in touch with our offices now!

Latest News & Updates

Meet Our San Diego Attorneys

Thomas F. Gallagher, Esq.

Troy B. Krich, Esq.

Contact Gallagher Krich, APC

What Clients Say:

Mike K., Google

Rated 5.0 out of 5
August 11, 2023

Thank you so much for all your help in resolving a real estate matter so quickly and efficiently.

Mike K

What Clients Say:

Jonas Y., Google

Rated 5.0 out of 5
December 28, 2022

If you need a “ Closer”, go see Troy. Troy has been one of the best attorneys I have ever worked with. I don’t typically give reviews but after the last case Troy helped me settle out of court, I won’t hesitate to use Troy again! Thanks for all you do Troy !

Jonas Y

What Clients Say:

Daniel E., Google

Rated 5.0 out of 5
October 11, 2022

I left a voicemail for Tom late Sunday evening and received a phone call first thing the next morning.

Tom was very quick to reply to any questions I had, and if he was caught up in a meeting, he was sure to return my call promptly.

Tom provided sound and logical advice, during a very stressful and uncertain time. At times I asked him to be more aggressive and was often met with the pros and cons of that decision, allowing me to understand the approach and thought process behind his strategy.

Ultimately he provided options for several paths for us to take, worked swiftly, and got us where we needed to be.

He reached out several times to check on my sanity and make sure I was good.

As someone with very high expectations, I would highly recommend his services. He provided expertise that proved to be successful, and also took the time to make sure I was emotionally solid.

Tom assisted with me with a 50% / 50% ownership conflict.

Daniel E

What Clients Say:


Rated 5.0 out of 5
February 23, 2022

Really informative and actionable, very grateful to have connected and I look forward to working more with them in the future.


What Clients Say:


Rated 5.0 out of 5
February 8, 2022

i liked that a lawyer, and not a staff member, called me to get the details and he gave me his opinion of what his initial thoughts are about my case.


What Clients Say:

Bob W., Google

Rated 5.0 out of 5
August 30, 2021

What was thought to be a simple breach of contract turned into a nightmare. Through their tenacity and their deep knowledge of the law, we were successful. There is no reason to look any further as you will not get any better representation than this firm. I highly recommend them and strongly suggest that if you are considering starting a business or are already managing one, this firm will guide you, avoiding the troubled waters businesses sometimes find themselves in.

Bob W

What Clients Say:

Rasmita M., Google

Rated 5.0 out of 5
August 13, 2021

Johnny Nitti helped us with our estate plan. He was very meticulous while drafting the plan and spent enough time to explain the details to us. He filed the deed with county recorder and paid for the fees himself. Overall, Johnny did a great job and we definitely plan to work with him in the future for any updates to our EP.

Rasmita M

What Clients Say:

George A., Google

Rated 5.0 out of 5
August 7, 2021

Johnny Nitti helped me with my estate planning (will, living trust, etc.) and made the process smooth. He is very responsive and organized. I highly recommend contacting Johnny.

George A

What Clients Say:

Ashley C., Google

Rated 5.0 out of 5
July 18, 2020

Tom Gallagher is very knowledgeable and helpful when it comes to business law. I reached out to him reguarding the Pandemic and my salon and I’m so glad I did. Many times stress and hard times can fog clarity and he really helped me understand the laws.

Thanks Tom!!!

Ashley C

What Clients Say:

Evan D., Google

Rated 5.0 out of 5
July 16, 2019

Thank you Troy for everything! Professional, prompt, and smooth handling of my case. I will be recommending to anyone that is in need of a lawyer.

Evan D