Frequently Asked Questions
What is real estate law?
Real estate law covers a wide range of laws which govern both litigation and transactions regarding the ownership, sale, purchase or rental of real property. For example, this may include litigation such as breach of real estate contracts, landlord tenant disputes, mechanics' liens, neighbor or boundary disputes, petitions to partition property and actions to quiet title. It also includes transactions like buying, selling or renting a property or simply changing title or transferring it to a family member. It can also include the drafting of important legal documents such as buyout agreements, joint venture contracts, as well as leases or lease-purchase agreements.
Do I have to pay for an initial consultation?
The Real Estate Law Group provides initial consultations free of charge. This can be scheduled in our office in Blue Bell or a satellite office or by telephone or Skype.
How do I schedule my free initial consultation?
Contact the Real Estate Law Group to schedule your initial consultation and let us know if you prefer to meet in person or over the telephone. Please also describe your legal issue with as much detail as possible. This will insure that your initial consultation will be more productive in terms of getting your questions answered!
How are fees charged for your legal services?
The Real Estate Law Group charges legal fees on a sliding scale and will also offer flat fees as much as possible. For example, simple litigation matters, transactions and drafting legal documents are fairly predictable in terms of the time required and we will most likely be able to provide you with a flat fee. More complicated matters, particularly complex litigation, will be charged by an hourly rate plus costs incurred. However, we will provide an estimate of the total approximate cost as much as possible.
What does a sliding scale mean?
Our hourly rates range from $75 per hour to $175 per hour, depending upon your income and assets. Please ask us for more details on how to qualify for an hourly rate less than $175 per hour.
If I am purchasing or selling a FSBO property, why should I hire an attorney to oversee the process?
The purchase or sale of a property involves the negotiation and drafting of real estate contracts often involving large sums of money. And the Standard Agreement of Sale form recommended by the PA Association of Realtors has many hidden pitfalls if you are not extremely familiar with the process. If you are involved in a for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) transaction, you definitely need a real estate lawyer to review the contract BEFORE you sign it and if necessary negotiate more advantageous terms on your behalf. We will also review the title search and attend settlement with you (all for a very reasonable flat fee).
What is the difference between a real estate agent and a Realtor®?
A Realtor® subscribes to a Code of Ethics which means they have a higher standard of care and obligated to protect your interests.
Do I need a lawyer if I have a real estate agent representing me to sell my property?
Most people assume that in Pennsylvania you do not need a lawyer in addition to real estate agent representing you in the sale of a property. And in many cases that may be true. However, there are some very important things for you to consider. First of all, make sure you are represented by a Realtor® and not simply a real estate agent. There is a very meaningful difference (see answer to question above). Secondly, it is fairly obvious that when you are listing a property for sale then the Listing Contract is the important legal document which governs your relationship. You may want to consult with a lawyer about the terms of that Listing Contract (which believe it or not can be negotiated and changed in a variety of way!).
Do I need a lawyer if I have a real estate agent representing me to buy a property?
Most people assume that in Pennsylvania you do not need a lawyer in addition to real estate agent representing you in the sale of a property. And in many cases that may be true. However, there are some very important things for you to consider. First of all, make sure you are represented by a Realtor® and not simply a real estate agent. There is a very meaningful difference (see answer to question above). Second, if you buying a property then you must sign a Buyer Agency Agreement in order to make sure that the Realtor® truly represents only your interests. If you do not sign a Buyer Agency Agreement, then the Realtor® is actually a sub-agent for the seller. Third, if you are a buyer and use the same agent or Realtor® that is representing the seller, then this is a dual agency situation and involves inherent conflicts of interest. Finally, real estate agents and Realtors® have varying degrees of knowledge and experience when it comes to the negotiation and drafting of contracts, and explaining the legal details of your rights and obligations. If you want to use a friend or family member as your real estate agent or Realtor you might want to consider hiring The Real Estate Law Group to oversee the process for a small flat fee.
Can Leslie Margolies represent me as both a lawyer and a Realtor® in my real estate transaction?
Yes! Leslie Margolies is both a lawyer and a Realtor® and if you want to utilize her services as a Realtor® then all of transactional legal services during the process are free of charge. We have particular expertise in real estate transactions where there are other legal issues involved such as divorce sales, estate sales, elder care transitions (seniors selling their home and transitioning to an assisted living or nursing care facility), as well as transactions involving real estate investors.
What if I just have a legal question?
If you just have a legal question about real estate law or landlord tenant law and don't feel that a consultation is necessary, please send an email to LeslieTheLawyer@gmail.com