While Ohio real estate law does not require you to have a real estate attorney, there are certain cases where having an attorney may be a good idea. When buying property that has common interest developments, it can be difficult for the average consumer to discern between the parts of the property that are for one’s own use and the parts that are for community use. Common interest developments, such as condos, may have ongoing litigation that can have an adverse effect on the future value of the property. A real estate attorney can explain to you what the possible outcomes of ongoing litigation may be, so that you can make an informed decision about whether to invest in the property. A real estate attorney can also help ensure that a property’s title is valid before the buyer closes the sale.
Try to find a lawyer recommended by someone you trust, such as a friend or family member. Never choose a real estate attorney simply on the recommendation of your real estate agent. However, you may be able to find an attorney who is also a licensed real estate agent.
You should ensure that the attorney specializes in real estate law by consulting with state and local bar associations and real estate broker associations. The American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL) website provides links to members by state and has many members from Ohio.
Most attorneys will answer preliminary questions for free. Make a list of your questions and use this list to help you find an attorney who you believe will represent your interests competently and ethically. Before making a final decision, ask what the attorney’s fees are. Some real estate attorneys will work for a flat fee in simpler cases.