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