What questions do I ask my lawyer and accountant before investing?

I’m making plans to start buying houses to rent out. I’ve read all the horror stories and the “read this before you become a landlord” type of articles and it’s still something I want to persue. My next step is to talk to a laywer and accountant to make sure I start out the right way.

I’m working on my list of questions and talking points, but would really like to get advice from the experienced investors on this forum as to what I should ask about for both legal advice and accounting.


Here are questions to start with for the attorney:

  1. WHat do you charge per hour?
  2. How fast can you talk?

In 8 years I’ve found that just because someone uses Esq after their name, doesn’t mean too much other than they have student loans. Just as in any field, there are good attorneys, and pretty bad ones. Avoid an attorney that claims to be able to do it all. You’ll want one that spends all or at least 90% of their time doing real estate and specifically investor real estate counseling.
Discuss your business plan and ask for LEGAL advice, not real estate advice.
The accountant will be there more for tax purposes in regards to the business entity.

find out where the rei club meetings are held in the city that you want to start investing in… and go to it and network with other investors and see whats working in that area :beer

For the accountant, see how you should set things up (business entity or not, what type of accounting software to use, etc). You want to have organization from the start. If you’re going to use software like Quickbooks, Quicken, etc - it’s best to start out from the beginning that way. Will you have the accountant figure your taxes? How much will that cost? Is he or she well versed in figuring taxes and giving advice on REI matters?
For the lawyer - Will the lawyer be doing your closings, your evictions, etc? What’s his or her experience? How much will they charge?
We use a RE lawyer. That’s all he does. He’s been doing this for many years. Don’t get a family law lawyer to try and do RE stuff.

First, you should go to your local REI club and ask for a referral from its members. The attorney I use, I actually was recommended to him by the sheriff at the courthouse. He basically said, “he files and wins cases for a lot of landlords in the county.” That was it. Of course cost is always going to be a factor, but make sure the attorney has time to deal with your questions and concerns. If he’s so over leverage with clients that he cant return a phone call, whats the point? Does he work with RE investors and does he invest in real estate? Justin 0419 is on point with the accountant.

Start with issues like how to reach a resolution mutually acceptable to you or to another party involved in your investment.