Mel Feller a Texas and Utah Investor Looks at How to Find the Best Real Estate Attorney
Mel Feller, MPA, MHR with Offices in Texas and Utah
Mel Feller Seminars, Coaching For Success 360 Inc. /Mel Feller Coaching
As a real estate investor in several states myself, here is what I look for when seeking out an attorney. Find a lawyer who:
Spends 60% or more of their practice doing ONLY real estate. Many general practitioners will tell you yes, they can do closings, trusts, etc., but they are actually learning on your nickel.
Has been doing RE law for at least 5 years.
Is recommended by other experienced investors you know. Contacts through your local RE association are valuable here.
Is a member of the local REIA.
Invests in real estate.
Has several if not many full time, professional RE investors as clients. Ask about some of their clients. You want to hear that they represent individuals with everything from Section 8 portfolios to rehabbers to strip malls and other commercial stuff. You will know they have been tried and tested!
Is on the RE committee of your local bar association, or is involved in running or developing the continuing legal education courses for the county. Those are classes taught by lawyers for lawyers, and the person who is running them will know their stuff. The county bar association should be able to help you find those people.
Works for themselves, or is a partner in a small firm. While you might find someone very experienced in a big major law firm, they will charge you like crazy. A big firm letterhead is absolutely NO guarantee of quality. In my opinion, lawyers running their own shops are closer to the investor’s mindset, because they have to run a business too. They are more flexible, and willing to work with you on price and more. They do not have to answer to managing partners, or hordes of other partners demanding certain profit margins.
Is willing to listen to you about certain creative transactions. Things like lease options, double closing, setting up a land trust, 1031 exchanges, creating paper, holding your deposits in escrow instead of having to hand it over to the listing agent, and some other things you have seen or heard about are worth running by them. The response you are looking for is one of interest and willingness to work with you. You may not get complete acceptance, because some of it might not be familiar, but if they say they are at least willing to explore your ideas, that is good. You DO NOT want someone who starts pontificating about why all that stuff is illegal, cannot do it, etc. You do not need a parent, you need a team member.
Is available to you, regardless of how much $$ you are spending with them. No matter how “good” the lawyer is, how experienced, if they ignore you they are not worth your time. You need someone who understands that you want a long-term relationship/partnership, and if they treat you with disrespect, they don’t deserve your $$. They should return calls and emails within a reasonable period, and should be willing to answer BASIC questions off the meter.
Understands that one hand washes the other. If they can refer you to other investors or potential members of your REI team (CPAs, sellers, etc.), and they give you the service I have noted above, be sure to send other clients their way. You will be surprised at how fruitful a relationship will develop — This person will have CONNECTIONS, which can benefit you mightily.
Notice I did not say anything about price. If you get everything I have listed above in a single lawyer, s/he will be worth their weight in gold. You will learn enough from using them a few times to be able to work with them efficiently going forward. Build the costs of legal into your analysis as if you would any other costs, as you would a general contractor. While many good lawyers will work with you on price, do not insult them by demanding they charge you less because you are “going to bring them a lot of work” (yeah, right) — you identify yourself as a client not worth working with. Remember, someone like the person I have described does not need you, but you will definitely benefit from using them. Switch to someone cheaper, just based on price and ignore all the other benefits I have listed above, and you might save money in the short term, but you will lose quality and longer-term $$ in building your business.
As for pre-paid legal services: I have never used these services myself, but I have heard more negative experiences than positive from many of my students. Because legal fees can be high, it can seem like a good deal to only pay a small monthly fee and have “unlimited” attorney access. However, proceed with caution. In my opinion, whether you are using a plumber or a lawyer, you get what you pay for; some of the issues with pre-paid services include unresponsiveness, lack of thoroughness, and an unwillingness to work on anything other than a very basic cookie-cutter legal matter. If you do not think, you will need more than a few contracts reviewed or other minor needs, a pre-paid service may be able to help. In any case, it’s probably a good idea to avoid signing any kind of long term commitment to pay (say, for one year) and to try to get a two or three month trial first. Be sure you understand completely what the service covers and what it does not cover.
Ultimately, it is advisable to make the costs of a good lawyer a non-issue by building the fees into any deal right up front. As I say above, the value of a good long-term relationship with a competent and reliable attorney can be worth far more than the fees you will pay for quality service.
Mel Feller a Texas /Utah Personal Development, Business, Real Estate, Branding, Business Funding and Finance Coach. In addition, Mel Feller has served in a variety of executive leadership roles for medium and large organizations, including multiple Fortune 500’s. He is a charismatic leader who has facilitated change and growth in all sized organizations, including non-profit and Board development. Mel Feller has successfully led organizations in the areas business development, marketing, sales, operations, and the like.
Mel Feller is committed to serving. In the Texas / Utah community, he chairs several organizations. Mel Feller volunteers his leadership at two churches in a variety of ways, including serving on council, bible study facilitator, and more.
Mel Feller has been a featured speaker for career professional is groups, business leaders and continuing education sessions, and aspiring business startups.
When he is not coaching, you can find Mel Feller reading, listening to podcasts, exercising, fishing, or with his kids and grandkids exploring the greatness God has gifted us all.
Mel Feller states, “An effective coach is someone who tells you what you may not want to hear, helps you navigate around your blind spots, and helps you identify opportunities…so that you can be who you’ve always known you can be” Mel Feller
Mel Feller’s purpose is to add tremendous value to those business owners/entrepreneurs by helping them reach their potential.
Mel Feller is an effective, charismatic and powerful speaker, corporate advisor, and best-selling author. In 1998, Mel founded Coaching for Success 360 to help professionals worldwide design subtle changes in their presentation, attitude and leadership style that increases their personal and professional effectiveness and subsequently their financial status. This also includes both real estate as an agent and/or investor. See www.melfeller.com and www.melfellersuccessstories.com . Now with offices both in Texas and Utah.
As a business, executive, personal development, and real estate coach, I work with a wide range of professionals and offer a highly personalized approach tailored to each individual in concert with the organizational environment. In a supportive atmosphere, I work to build trust and support the professional in the attainment of goals and measurable outcomes.
Mel Feller offers sessions, both in-person and virtual. We will start with an initial assessment to clearly define your short and long-term goals, everything from communication skills to personal acceptance. We will use these goals as a foundation to create a strategy and build the path for attaining these objectives. Change is typically a major component of reaching goals and sustainable change becomes more likely in a coaching partnership.