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What Does a Real Estate Attorney Do? Responsibilities of a Real Estate Attorney

On Behalf of | May 26, 2023 | Real Estate

A real estate attorney is a licensed and skilled professional authorized to handle the vital documents and contracts involved in buying and selling real estate. Every real estate lawyer should possess the legal expertise to prepare and review such paperwork. Additionally, they can perform several other tasks required during a real estate transaction. These tasks include advising on tax implications, negotiating deals, overseeing the closing process, and more. Real estate attorneys can also handle the legal issues and disputes that might arise after a transaction is completed.

At Batson Nolan PLC, we understand and excel at the real estate lawyer role. From small transactions to complicated commercial ventures, our attorneys have the skill and experience to provide substantial value. We have provided exceptional legal services in Tennessee and Kentucky since 1860 and pride ourselves on developing successful ongoing relationships with our clients. Contact us today so we can help with your real estate needs.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Real Estate Lawyer

There is no one role of a real estate attorney. Real estate attorneys have many roles and responsibilities throughout any real estate transaction. For most large real estate transactions, multiple real estate attorneys will work on different aspects of the deal for the buyer, seller, and any insurance companies or other third parties. Ultimately, a lawyer’s role in a real estate transaction depends on the nature of the deal and the client’s needs.

Prepare and Review Documents

One of the most important jobs real estate attorneys perform is preparing and reviewing the various documents necessary for every real estate transaction. Standard documents that a lawyer must work on include the following:

  • Closing documents,
  • Insurance policies,
  • Property deeds,
  • Leases,
  • Subleases,
  • Restrictive covenants,
  • Purchase and sale agreements,
  • Appraisal reports, and
  • Loan agreements.

It is critical to get many of these documents right. A small oversight can lead to enormous costs for parties on all sides of the transaction.

Represent Clients

Representing their client’s interests is the central role of lawyers in all fields. Real estate attorneys can work on any side of a transaction to ensure that their client’s goals are achieved. They can also represent clients in any disputes that arise involving real estate. Common real estate disputes include:

  • Foreclosures,
  • Contract breaches,
  • Fraud,
  • Boundary disputes,
  • Easement disputes, and
  • Co-ownership disputes.

Real estate attorneys also provide general advice to their clients regarding the legal matters surrounding real estate.

Negotiate Deals

Lawyers often play a central role in the negotiation process, and having a lawyer present during these discussions is usually a huge benefit. They can provide immediate advice regarding how a deal term might best protect their client’s interests. They can also ensure that everything discussed complies with local, state, and federal regulations.

Further, negotiation is an integral aspect of the legal profession, so many lawyers are trained and skilled negotiators. They can provide valuable advice on pushing past an impasse or anticipating friction points before they become a problem. Real estate attorneys can also help clients determine when the other side is offering a bad deal.

Plan Taxes

With the vast size of most real estate transactions, tax law is a necessary consideration. Further, there are specific state and federal tax laws that provide benefits to buyers and sellers who structure their transactions correctly. The tax implications of real estate transactions are so important that some attorneys devote their entire careers to real estate tax codes.

Conduct Title Searches

A title search is a way to determine if anyone other than the seller has a legal claim on the property being purchased. This would be as simple as searching an online database in a perfect world. Unfortunately, the method by which various government entities keep public records complicates the process. As a result, it is easy for an inexperienced person to miss relevant claims on a property. Local real estate attorneys often have the experience and knowledge to conduct a thorough title search in the jurisdiction governing the property.


Disputes are common in the real estate world. Often these disputes lead to litigation. If you must take a party to court, or if someone takes you to court, having an experienced real estate litigator on your side is essential. A seasoned real estate litigation attorney knows how to handle the case, giving you the best opportunity to protect your interests.

Handle Zoning and Land Use Issues

Properties throughout Tennessee are subject to a vast number of zoning and land use laws and regulations. Counties and municipalities in Tennessee have a lot of power regarding land use and zoning regulations. Further, all properties must follow state and federal zoning and land use laws.

Running afoul of these rules can destroy the value of your property. Real estate attorneys are well-versed in these local, state, and federal laws. They can work with clients to help them use their property for its intended purpose. During a transaction, an attorney can also advise their clients on the possibilities and limitations of a specific property.

Deal with Homeowner Disputes

Homeowner disputes constitute a significant part of real estate law. Whether disputes arise between neighbors in an apartment complex, homeowner’s association members, or any other context, real estate attorneys are key players in finding a resolution.


Real estate attorneys are deeply involved in the real estate loan process. Every loan must follow a series of local, state, and federal laws. Attorneys work with homebuyers and insurance companies to ensure loan agreements meet all their clients’ needs without violating rules and regulations. They are often at the table as a major player in the loan closing process.

Conduct Other Real Estate Business

There are many other roles that real estate attorneys fulfill. In general, if an issue involves real estate and the law, a real estate lawyer can provide essential services. If you have a real estate question and are wondering if it falls within the domain of a real estate lawyer, give us a call to find out.

When Do You Need a Real Estate Lawyer?

Real estate attorneys can work for buyers, sellers, lenders, insurance providers, or anyone else linked to a real estate transaction.

Though there is no legal requirement to hire a real estate lawyer in Tennessee, getting an outside legal opinion is almost always a good idea for most real estate transactions. The role of a lawyer in a real estate transaction is to provide services such as document preparation and crucial legal advice. Their advice can often save you far more money and headaches down the road than the cost of hiring an attorney. This equation holds especially true for commercial and large residential real estate transactions.

Further, if there is any potential for legal or regulatory compliance issues to diminish the value of the real estate, an attorney can provide substantial value. Understanding how to navigate the legal landscape surrounding a particular piece of real estate saves time and money.

It is also essential to discuss any potential legal disputes involving real estate with an experienced attorney. Doing so can help you reach an amicable solution before litigation becomes necessary. If you do need to litigate, having a skilled trial attorney is critical.

Benefits of Hiring a Real Estate Lawyer

Many assume hiring a real estate lawyer will be expensive and eat into a deal’s value. However, as stated, attorneys often provide benefits that far outweigh the costs.

Protecting Your Interests

An experienced real estate attorney will protect your interests in several different ways. They will closely analyze every transaction document to ensure there are no hidden traps, unnecessary costs, or any other issues. A lawyer can also have your back at the negotiating table and help you negotiate a better deal. Further, if litigation is necessary, an attorney will be your advocate in court. These services can help ensure you get what you intend from any real estate deal.

Saving You Time and Money

The legal hurdles presented by any real estate transaction can cost inexperienced parties time and money. Even clients who regularly engage in real estate transactions can encounter issues they have never seen before. An experienced attorney should know what to expect and be able to handle new problems quickly and efficiently. Doing so will save you time and money.

Providing You Peace of Mind

There are plenty of opportunities for real estate deals to lead to unintended consequences. No one wants to be kept up at night wondering if the deal they just made will come around to hurt them in the end. Working with a skilled real estate attorney will help you sleep at night, knowing any surprises that might make you regret the deal are unlikely to spring up.

Ensuring Compliance with Real Estate Laws and Regulations

Nothing can destroy the value of a deal faster than learning the transaction is illegal. A real estate attorney will help you handle compliance and regulatory issues before the government comes knocking on your door. If problems do arise, an attorney can help you figure out how to get back into compliance without destroying the deal’s value.

Giving You an Independent Opinion

Even experienced lawyers know to hire an outside attorney for an independent opinion when a legal matter is personal. Sometimes our interest in a real estate deal can blind us to an issue that is immediately obvious to an outside observer. A real estate attorney can provide this outside perspective.

Letting You Focus on the Non-Legal Aspects of Real Estate

Ultimately, a real estate attorney’s central role is to handle the legal aspects of real estate so you can focus on other important matters.

Batson Nolan PLC Can Help with All Your Real Estate Legal Needs

If you have any legal questions or issues involving real estate, contact Batson Nolan now. Our skilled real estate attorneys stand ready to find a personalized and effective solution to your real estate needs. As a full-service law firm, we prioritize collaboration with our clients and work hard to remain on the cutting edge of real estate law. Schedule a consultation today.