Should I Hire A Lawyer Instead of a Real Estate Agent?

We frequently have individuals contact our office seeking assistance and guidance in the course of either selling their home or buying a new home. Most often, these clients are hoping to avoid the commission that is typically paid to real estate agents (real estate agents generally charge a combined commission of 5-6% of the sale price of the home). In some cases, the agent’s ability to market the property for the Seller and guide them through the sale process can be of great value. For a buyer, an agent may be helpful in the search for the right home and the related purchase process—and a buyer frequently also considers the service “free” since their agent is compensated from the total commission paid by the Seller from the sale of the home. However, there are many instances in which a client will be better served and can save significant amount of money by hiring a real estate lawyer instead. Most commonly, for a Seller, this would be the case if they already have a buyer (for sale by owner, family member, friend, whatever else). In such a case, hiring an agent simply does not make financial sense and a lawyer is much less expensive. For a buyer, if they are comfortable doing their own home search, a real estate attorney is similarly the best alternative. The commission paid to their agent (from the sale proceeds) essentially adds to the desired sale price from the Seller (i.e. its not free). Without an agent, the Buyer can typically negotiate off at least 2.5% of the sale price right off the bat. While every property and situation is different and merits detailed and personalized consideration, it is important to understand when an attorney is cheaper and better than a real estate agent.