How do attorneys stimulate deal flow and keep everyone engaged and moving forward? And, more importantly how do clients receive value from their attorney? Good attorneys are cost-effective, and since we are in the transaction business, we must always demonstrate and represent value.
An old professor once told me “nothing ever happens until there is an exchange.” Real estate is the pinnacle of exchanges, right up there with mergers and acquisitions, but with more finesse and focus on the results.
As real estate attorneys, our team lives and breathes by making deals happen; the transaction is at the heart of what we do. If we can’t help you get to the closing, we’ve failed, plain and simple.
Here are five considerations to ensure your attorney is working efficiently and effectively:
1. Does your attorney scale his attention?
Since every transaction is different, it is important to set priorities in negotiation and put more emphasis on the high level documents and deal points that matter the most to your client’s deal. Details matter, but not all details are created equal.
2. Does your attorney consider the happiness factor?
It’s the attorney’s job to smooth the way and make the deal more certain. However, if there are cheap shots or misdirection, it won’t be pleasant and the process won’t be efficient. Both parties are trying to achieve the same thing, just on different sides of the same coin. The buyer wants to buy the property, and the seller wants to sell the property, and it’s the attorney who helps make that happen. The best deals are almost always the ones where both parties are made to feel secure and happy.
3. Does your attorney know who’s doing what?
There can often be dozens or hundreds of documents leading up to a closing, coming from the buyer, seller, bank and others. While it seems like a simple rule, your attorney should know who is doing (or not doing) what. Make sure everything is ready BEFORE the closing and that you’ve been afforded the opportunity to review and understand what is happening. If there is an opportunity to control a high-priority document, have your attorney be the drafter. In almost every case, it makes a difference.
4. Does your attorney play nice?
The decorum of your attorney is critical. To let negativity and emotion affect the negotiation will only taint the process. People want to be treated fairly. While sharp dealing may bring short advantages, it could also come back to haunt you. Chances are you will be sitting across the table from that party sometime in the future or even on the same side. Memories are long and what goes around comes around. Remember your grandmother’s simple advice: “play nice.”
5. Does your attorney know you well?
The job of an attorney is to know the client and coach them through the process. Knowledge of the client includes having key insights into their risk tolerance, sophistication, pressure points, non-negotiables, goals, etc., all the while, not losing sight of the prize. Successful transactions are a direct result of attorneys working in tandem with their clients.
My experience runs deep, and while these simple tips may sound trivial, deals fall through all of the time for easily preventable reasons. And, yes, sometimes deals are meant to fall through. In those cases better work up front can facilitate a move back to the table faster when the deal makes more sense for everyone. Your attorney’s job is to counsel, facilitate the transaction and move forward in a thoughtful and productive way, so you can move on to your next deal.