Many attorneys practice in the area of real estate law, but there is a limited subset of those attorneys who spend significant time in a court room. Moreover, general commercial litigators may have extensive experience in a courtroom, but may not understand the unique aspects of a real estate transaction. Considering real estate is often a relatively large asset, it is important to find an attorney to handle your matter who has courtroom experience specifically in the areas of real estate litigation. I have the experience both in the courtroom and managing other attorneys nationwide through the complex world of real estate litigation.
What types of real estate matters are litigated?
It would be impossible to create a comprehensive list of real estate litigation matters, but some examples of real estate litigation include when:
- A seller fails to deliver possession of a home that is under contract
- After purchasing a new home, the buyer discovers that there are issues that were not properly disclosed by the seller
- A tenant fails to pay rent or causes damage to a rental property
- There is a break in the chain of title for the property
- A borrower fails make payments on their loan and you seek to foreclose on the property
- An HOA member fails to pay assessments and the HOA seeks to foreclosure on the property
- The HOA has filed suit against a homeowner for a violation of the HOA rules and regulations
- A contractor failed to perform under the terms of the contract and refuses to return the deposit.
- A homeowner has failed to make the final payment to a contractor and a mechanic’s lien foreclosure is required.
How much does real estate litigation cost?
The costs of litigation can very greatly depending on the attorney you hire, the value of the dispute and what actions the opposing party takes during the case that may require more work on the part of the attorney. Most litigation attorneys charge either a large percentage of what you recover or an hourly billing rate that can be unpredictable as certain months will require significantly more work than others. We understand that litigation is often an unbudgeted expense and it can be difficult when you receive a large bill for months that included extensive depositions or time-consuming work on the part of the attorney. Therefore, beginning in 2017, we have started billing clients based upon a flat-rate litigation model that is comprised of an initial payment that is generally between $500 t0 $3,000 and then monthly payments that range from $250 – $1,000 throughout the course of the litigation. Moreover, if the case is not resolved within the time frames set forth in the initial retainer agreement due to court schedules or other factors beyond your control, the monthly payment will be cut in half for the remainder of the litigation.
Our goals with implementing this flat-rate billing structure is to provide our clients with predictable monthly expenses and to align the firm’s goals with those of our clients as the flat rate billing structure encourages us to be more efficient when providing legal services. The flat rate also allows you to feel free to call or email the firm with quick questions or for status updates on your case without worrying about the bill you receive at the end of the month. Finally, by breaking the fee into monthly payments instead of requiring payment in full up front, you do not end up overpaying when the case is settled prior to trial.