legal advice

what type of attorney would I talk to for a short sale?

Not to point out the obvious or trying to be funny, but A Real Estate Attorney should know about the Short Sale process

Does the attorney charge a flat fee or charge by the hour? If they charge by the hour, how much they charge per hour and how many hours they estimate it will take for them to do the necessary work for transaction, including reviewing contracts, handling disclosures and assisting with the title search and closing?

It’s not obvious. I know real estate lawyers that specialize in zoning and land use, landlord tenant issues, title disputes and a host of other real estate topics. Not one of them deal with short sales or are even familiar with the process.

Negotiate a flat fee with someone who understands short sales. Hourly rates will drain your retainer quickly.

You are best off finding a real estate attorney who practices alone. If you are wanting a flat fee, a small office attorney is more likely to work with you. Almost all attorneys were on an hourly rate, however, I have in the past accepted clients on a flat fee who needed someone available as needed for quick questions or documents.
Most attorneys in firms or connected with title companies are not so likely to be flexible.

A real estate agent should negotiate a short sale for free. I never charge my clients as the lender and buyers pay my fees.

The point is that someone has to pay the fees. Our firm mediates short sales. Training, coaching, and mediating short fees is what we do. In most cases, the buyers pay our fees, but there are different methods of structuring.

I’m an attorney and a realtor, so I usually just act as the buyer’s agent for a short sale for the 3% commission. I will work for a flat fee if the client wants me to, and I will charge less than 3% if I get the money up front. But short sales are a lot of freaking work so I’d probably still want 1.5-2%.

So there you are. There are two of us attorneys responding back, and I’m sure you would be please whichever decision you make.

Best of luck.

(drew, nice to see you on here.)