Home Buying in Butler>Question Details

Bob, Home Buyer in Wayne, NJ

Use the attorney my Realtor recommended, or find an independent one?

Asked by Bob, Wayne, NJ Fri Mar 6, 2009

Should I go with the short sale attorney that my realtor recommended, or should I try to locate an independent one? I know the importance of using an independent inspector, but I'm not sure if my attorney should be independent also. Are there negatives is using a short sale attorney that my Realtor recommends? I’m the buyer, by the way.

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Yes, the last three responses are right.

I did forget to mention that I give 3 attorney names to a client.. This ensures buyer can call each discuss pricing and the office practice.

Same as I do for home inspectors and Mortgage People..
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 7, 2009
I usually recomend an attorney to my clients, why?

Because I know that the attorney I use will be responsive to your needs during attorney review, answer all your questions and have a good staff that supports him /her.

The last thing you want is to get involved with an unresponsive, slow moving attorneys office, this can bring you to a disadvantage when negotiating during attorney review.. like inspections issues and such. Unresponsive / uncaring attorneys can break a deal in a heartbeat. Like anythig else, where there are good and bad.

99% of my clients used the attorney I suggest.

Yes, it is common for a Realtor to suggest someone that will work in your best interest. Especially if this is a short sale and your Realtor is aware of your attorneys prior short sale negotiations and practices. Go with the Realtor reccomendation.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 7, 2009
In my selling area, which is second homes, I always prefer the buyer use a local attorney. I can pick up the contracts and deliver them, I know them so they don't mind taking my calls to follow up or move things along. With a short sale, I can't stress enough to use an attorney who has short sale experience, and I don't mean "ask them", I mean get some referrals. If you aren't comfortable using one your realtor recommends, ask a friend or ask another realtor if you know one. But use one that knows the ins and outs of a short sale. (PS Where do you get the phrase "independent" from, all attorneys are "independent". If you mean "unknown to" the realtor, I'm not sure that using an unknown is better than using someone who is referred.)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 8, 2009
In NJ, the attorney has a primary legal obligation to the client and not to the referring realtor. Additionally, it is illegal in NJ for a broker, sales agent or other real estate professional to receive any form of a referral fee or compensation from the attorney that was recommended. So that alleviates some of the frustration/ skepticism from going with an attorney that a realtor refers. Some claim that the attorneys referred are ones that do not do advocate strongly on behalf of the client but merely push a transaction through so that it results in a sale (i.e., commission for the realtor/ fee for the attorney). But again, there is a legal obligation for the attorney to protect the client (not the realtor) and in NJ this is what attorneys are concerned with -- especially since it is THEIR name on the legal documents, affidavits, deeds, title work, etc., and it is primarily THEIR malpractice insurance that gets involved if there is a mistake (not the realtor); so again this should ease some of the skepticism. I am a practicing real estate attorney in NJ and I appreciate all realtor referrals; but I am always cognizant of the fact that the buyer (or seller) is my client and not the realtor. It is my job to protect this party as best possible and obtain the best circumstances for the transaction. Also, referrals are often made based upon past experiences and realtors are often in tune with the local area, the regular attorneys, the ones that handle specialized cases, etc. For instance, I have had specific published cases in tax foreclosure real estate transactions all the way to the NJ Supreme Court; and I know one particular agent that refers regular sales transactions to another attorney but refers tax foreclosure real estate transactions to me based upon this past experience. So it pays to ask the agent for the reasons for the referral, because they might be based on some specific experiences or past transactions.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 16, 2014
There is the concern that the realtor will be more likely to recommend a lawyer that will move the deal along (and thus produce a commission to the realtor) even if the deal and/or its details are not completely in the interest of the seller (client). An experienced independent attorney referred by a party that is not interested in the outcome of the deal might be best.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 2, 2013
Aside from the fact that the question was asked in 2009…. not a very bright answer. Especially on a short sale property and even more so since the question was asked by the buyer. With a short sale, I ( most educated REALTORS would ) recommend an attorney that understands the short sale process and how to move it along to protect the client. That is the thing I do not get, is the assumption that all that is cared about is that "one" commission. Like I am going to give away the farm, my license and professional status over the 3k that this could "potentially" generate "if" the short sale is approved. Short sales are about navigation of the process. You are buying a house pretty much as-is as there is no money to fix anything. Get over yourself and your thoughts.
Flag Thu Oct 3, 2013
If a client dose not have an attorney we do give a local list. It is always up to the client to speak to them and interview them for themselves Only you will know who you would like to work with.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 17, 2013
As an Attorney in New York I get many referrals from Real Estate Agents. I welcome them and feel that the reason they referred me was that I have proven myself to be competent and diligent. Real Estate Agents are licensed, Attorneys are licensed and neither one would risk their license readily for the cost of a closing.

If you trust your Realtor and find that after the Attorney interview that the Attorney is not right for you, then tell your Realtor you do not feel comfortable with his referral and look elsewhere. The RE agent is there to help you and has your best interest in mind.

Remember, it is your right to chose your own Attorney, however sometimes a referral can connect you with some of the most competent practitioners available in your area.

Interview the Attorney because he will be interviewing you as well.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 18, 2009
Short sale? (Discounted payoff or off set to demand)
Attorney? What shall you ask of him or her?
What is it they can tell you? Why would you see an attorney at all?
For maintaining integrity with respect to the offer? To assist you in closing?

With respect to all [but one here] I had to write this brief analysis in hopes of flushing out the regular one or three
Admirers waiting to lay siege with the usual baseless rhetorical counter attack – There are likely less than 20 attorneys per state on average in the United States that comprehend the horrific mess and Chaotic situation that has befallen the private label secondary and mortgage asset backed securities sector of Real Estate.

There is mounting pressure on the parties to the loan (as there is no true lender) and absent holder in due course under these structures.
I am versed and published on the subject and fall back on verifiable case studies (been there and done it) and have countless examples of
willful negligence and deceptive practices. Before you see an attorney gauge what you are up against.

A collateralized security owned by the pass thru cert holders who are managed with a bias for the lender and against the note holders.
They will rely on a master servicing agent to administer the collections and recovery from the sub servicing agent who represents the
Originator "lender" who is not a lender but called a "Depositor”. That party you all call a lender has solely an interest in the paper called “recourse”
Or pay me back for the bad loan you made (solely upon early prepayment and default).

EVEN IF THERE WAS A PREPAYMENT PENALTY AND A FULL PRICE OFFER THAT PARTY LOSES MONEY! That means if a loan stays current or pays off at CPR (term) . . . no problems. If foreclosure is involved it’s insured in a recovery and stands to make something under the Cash for keys “Fake a Sale” .

I should stop here…really…What? Continue???

Okay - nothing else, short sale or modification will work. ..Nothing. Last month its was the No Note Show on 60 minutes (11 months of attacking the messenger on that one). Sometime around fall and Christmas is when the next revelation will be announced on some prime time news program....short sales and modifications are wrongfully offered where lenders have no motivation to see these deals to fruition!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 9, 2009

The only person who wants your transaction to close as much as you do is your Realtor. If you do not have faith in that, then you have the wrong agent. Short sales are very challenging for all involved, so as an agent I try to refer the professionals I know from experience will do the job best for my clients. Remember- we rely on your referrals after we provide you with the best service we can to facilitate your deal and keep you as a client forever.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 8, 2009
If you trust your Realtor, then you should have no qualms about accepting a referral for an inspector or an attorney. Your Realtor is giving you names of people s/he has worked with in the past who have proven themselves reputable and effective.

I wouldn't hesitate to use one of their referrals. Make the calls, interview the people they've given you, ask about fees, availability, how the process works.

If you don't trust your Realtor's referral, then you don't trust your Realtor, and in that case, you should get a different Realtor. It's truly that simple.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 8, 2009
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
The attorney you use for a short sale is extremely important to the success of the transaction - you want an attorney that has experience with short sales in particular. In fact, that experience may be the difference in the end between success and failure.

As agents, we often provide several names of resources, attorneys, inspectors, etc. but those come as a courtesy only. We are careful not to present them as recommendations - because in the end each and every resource involved is working for you and it is up to you to select resources that have the experience you seek, and with whom you feel comfortable.

But with a short sale, let me stress again - an attorney that specializes in Real Estate and has specific expereince in short sales is a must.

Good luck,
Jeannie Feenick
Search and connect at http://www.feenick.com
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 8, 2009
Hello, Bob!
It is a very good question.
First of all, all attorneys are independent, even if a Realtor recommends them.
An attorney works for you, represents you. If you will find out that an attorney is not honest with you, and working just to "please" a Realtor, you always can file a complain against him/her, but no one attorney in clear state of mind will do it.
As a real estate professional I always give my client a chance to hire an attorney who I recommend (usually 3-4 names) or who they know, or who is recommended by someone else. And in 95% my clients are ending up by hiring someone who is recommended by me.
I think you should hire an attorney, recommended by your Realtor in THIS PARTICULAR CASE of a SHORT SALE deal, if of course you have 100% trust in your Realtor.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 7, 2009
Bob: I'm not sure who told you to use an "independent" inspector and NOT than one recommended by a Realtor but they're all wet! Same for any negative advice of any recommendation of an attorney.

Back about 10 years ago, I worked for a firm whose advice to the AGENT was to make a recommendation of at least three people for every task, so we would not be seen as steering to just one. The philosophy was that if we offered only one recommendation and it turned out that they had goofed something up, we might be sued for recommending them. Talk about the shoe being on the other foot; that's about 180 degrees from what you've been told!

In point of fact, an inspector or a lawyer is responsible for his or her own actions and, unless one could make a case for conspiracy, there should be little difference in accepting a Realtor's single suggestion, rather than one of three.

On the other hand, a good Realtor has worked with a lot of professionals and may be able to recommend one who has shown more diligence and competence than others that he or she has worked with. Do you have experience with any professionals? If not, you are experimenting and serving you apprenticeship "under fire," so to speak.

My advice is simply that, if you don't trust you Realtor, don't trust his or her advice. If you do, use their expertise to the maximum advantage.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 7, 2009
Bob, the choice is yours. We recommend asking your agent to provide you with several possibilities and then base your decision upon your own investigation.

Consider checking out the following website: http://www.linkedin.com

It a website for professionals that provided people with recommendations from their previous customers. It's a good resource for any number of purposes.

Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 7, 2009
Hello Bob,

I usually reccommend the attorney. I have 3 different attorneys that I reccommend. I believe my clients should feel comfortable with whomever they choose so I tell them to call each one and talk to them. A lot of times you can get a feel for a person from your conversation.

The job of any attorney is to act in the best interest of their client. Bob, that would be you. Not me. We recommend based on past experience with them. You want someone that is responsive to your needs. The three I recommend have cell phone numbers on their cards so yes you can get them when you're in a state of panic and need an answer on a Saturday night that can't wait until Monday.

Hope this helps:))
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 7, 2009
An attorney will represent your interests first. You are the client. There is no reason, if you haven't dealt with the attorney before, to question him/her about their short sale experience. As for references, you might run into a problem of attorney client privledge.

As already stated, the attorney and REALTOR must work closely to get a short sale to the closing table. Why not ask the REALTOR if any of his/her other clients have used this attorney? Good luck!

Laura Giannotta
Keller Williams Atlantic Shore
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 7, 2009

I concur with all of Susanna's input. To add that, I find that using an attorney with which I have a previously established relationship ensures a smooth transaction as it is important that an attorney and Realtor work closely in ensuring that all contingencies are met and resolving any other issues that may arise during the closing process.

It is normal to ask for multiple references and in the case of a short sale deal asking for references is adviseable since many attorneys are scrambling to become short sale "experts". In the end, you must feel comfortable with those with which you choose to do business.

Francesca Patrizio, Realtor
Web Reference: http://www.PatrizioRE.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 7, 2009
Aloha to you too, Susanna!
Thanks for the reply - my Realtor recommended this attorney because she specializes in short sales, and she and my Realtor have worked together in the past. She sounds great, but I'm a bit concerned about any possible conflicts of interest though. Should I be? Is it normal to ask the attorney for references?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 6, 2009
Aloha Bob,
Negotiating short sales can be such a struggle. It's entirely possible your realtor is simply trying to help you by referring you to an attorney who has a proven track record with short sales. I'd first ask your realtor why he/she recommended this attorney. If there's a track record, feel free to ask to talk to some of your realtors other clients who used this attorney, and even ask the attorney for references. With any professional resource, it's important to "shop" and talk to at least 2 or 3 resources yourself. On our island, many attorneys are so busy they don't even refer calls. Often the only way things get done is through referrals. Good luck with your negotiations!
Susanna Kunkel, RA
Hawaii Life Real Estate Services
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 6, 2009
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