Many people often ask how much do real estate lawyers make. Real estate law is an area of law that deals with the rights and obligations of people involved in real property, including buyers, sellers, landlords, tenants, and lenders. Lawyers who specialize in this fieldwork ensure their clients comply with all laws related to buying or selling a home.
For example, lawyers may negotiate the contract for sale between buyer and seller or draft documents for mortgage financing. The median salary for attorneys working as real estate specialists was $132,840 per year, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2016.
How Much Do Real Estate Lawyers Make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, the number of lawyers will increase by 50,100 between 2018 and 2028. This is a significant increase for most occupations, but with 823,900 jobs currently in the legal industry, the increase is only 6%, about the same as the average increase for all occupations. In other words, careers are not growing, but they are not shrinking either.
One of the most attractive aspects of careers in the legal field is the financial reward of high salaries. The average salary for lawyers in all U.S. states was calculated from Bureau of Labor Statistics employment data. As reported by the BLS, the median annual wage of lawyers is $144,230, nearly three times the average salary for all occupations ($51,960).
However, it should be noted that this average salary is for the United States as a whole, and there are significant geographic differences, particularly by the state of residence.
Real Estate Attorneys are responsible for assessing the legal needs of their business to ensure that all legal requirements are met. They work with clients, other attorneys, and outside specialists to represent the client’s interests. An attorney may also help draft contracts or other legal documents.
A 2010 study by Robert Half Legal reported that attorneys who specialize in real estate made an average salary of $145,000 annually as of May 2010. Newer data from indeed.com show somewhat less than this amount, reporting salaries closer to $115,000 per year for experienced real estate lawyers, though partners at top firms can expect up to $210,000 per year. Attorneys can expect to earn more than $100,000 per year as they gain experience.
Real estate lawyers are paid by the hour, with an 8-hour workday usually standard for this profession. Attorneys may be able to charge more or less depending on their expertise and level of seniority.
Below is a list of the top 10 states with the highest salaries for legal professions.
- The average salary for lawyers in California: is $171,550.
- salary for lawyers in New York: $167,110
- The average salary for lawyers in Massachusetts: is $165,610
- salary for Lawyers in Connecticut: $165,610
- The average salary for lawyers in Illinois: is $152,980
- salary for Lawyers in Texas: $150,250
- The average salary for lawyers in Colorado: is $147,560
- salary of lawyers in Arizona: $145,750
- The average salary for Lawyers in Virginia: is $139,180.
- Salary for lawyers in New Jersey: $139,020.
Massachusetts is the third highest state in terms of average attorney salary. Over the past five years, the average attorney salary has risen to third place: from $134,380 (2013) to $165,610 (2018), an increase of 23.2%.
10 States with the Lowest Lawyer Salaries
The 10 states with the lowest lawyer earnings are generally in the South and West, with smaller populations.
See below, with the states with the lowest salaries listed first.
- The average salary for lawyers in Montana: is $88,600.
- Salary for lawyers in Mississippi: $97,990.
- Avg. Salary for lawyers in West Virginia: $98,630.
- salary for lawyers in Arkansas: $98,780
- Avg. Salary for a lawyer in Idaho: $99,360.
- salary for a lawyer in Kentucky: $100,100
- Avg. Salary for a lawyer in Kentucky: $105,320.
- Salary for a lawyer in Louisiana: $105,490.
- Avg. Salary for a lawyer in Wyoming: $105,600.
- Salary for a lawyer in New Mexico: $105,910.
In Montana and Wyoming, average salaries are expected to increase by 17.6 percent and 18.3 percent, respectively, between 2013 and 2021. The contrast, in many of the ten lowest-performing states, attorney salaries have declined.
In Idaho, the fifth lowest-paying state, the average annual salary for attorneys has declined by 5.7. This is one of the lowest-paid states in the country.
Median Total Compensation
Base salaries for real estate attorneys range from $133,731 to $169,921, with a median of $153,362.
Total cash compensation, including base salary and annual incentive compensation, ranged from $150,619 to $208,220, with median total compensation of $175,026.
How much do real estate lawyers earn?
The median salary for real estate lawyers in the United States is $131,851. The average Real Estate Lawyer bonus is $8,306 (6% of salary), and 100% of employees report receiving a bonus each year. In Los Angeles, real estate attorneys earn the most, $167,953, and 27% higher than the national average.
When do I need a real estate lawyer?
Several states require that a real estate attorney oversee real estate transactions and be present at the closing.
These “no attorney states” are Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and West Virginia. Other states are considered “law school states” where attorneys must prove that they have a law degree. Four states (New Jersey, Illinois, New York, and Ohio) do not require real estate lawyers, but they are often used in transactions, depending on local customs and conventions.
If you do not live in one of these states, it is up to you to decide whether or not to hire a lawyer. Depends on how confident you are in your knowledge of the specifics of real estate law.
When faced with an especially complex situation, such as a foreclosure or short sale, you should consider hiring an attorney.
Commercial real estate law concerns the sale of real estate, land, and buildings. It also deals with capital assets, fixtures, and other legal issues relating to land and buildings. The number of states in which lawyers are required to monitor real estate transactions has increased. A real estate lawyer ensures that proper procedures are followed when buying or selling real estate.
They can also oversee the destination of the property. Real estate law includes real estate transactions, taxation, planning, zoning, and land ownership.
The right of freehold varies from one country to another and from one municipality to another.
Representatives must be certified in the state where the transaction occurs and be aware of any new state or local legislation affecting the transaction.
Real estate attorneys receive training to review sales agreements, mortgages, contracts, and conveyance documents. The real estate attorney you hire to handle the transaction will always work with the buyer during the closing process.
At closing, the money is paid, and the title is transferred. The attorney’s job is to make sure the transfer is legal, binding, and in the client’s best interest. When purchasing a real estate property, the real estate lawyer and their team prepare the documents, draw up the title deeds and arrange for the transfer of the funds necessary for the purchase.
If a bank finances the purchase, the attorney handles the paperwork including federal HUD-1 forms and documentation of funds transferred from the buyer to the lender. If there are real estate disputes, such as structural or zoning issues or other contractual issues, the attorney handles them.
So, the real estate lawyer can also represent the buyer or seller in the event of a dispute. The real estate lawyer will gather evidence from both parties and attempt to resolve the dispute. To do this, they may hire a surveyor or real estate agent to review the details.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a lawyer to complete the transaction?
Each country has its procedures and regulations. In some countries, the real estate lawyer must be involved in the entire process of selling the house and be present at the closing.
Legislation in this area can also vary from country to country. If you live in a country where the use of a lawyer is not mandatory, you can hire one.
Which companies pay the highest salaries to real estate lawyers?
If you want to make sure you know when and how much you’ll be paid, we recommend working for a firm that offers the highest salaries for real estate lawyers, such as DLA Piper or Latham & Watkins. Zipper’s ranking of firms Real Estate Lawyers estimated average salary 1.
- DLA Piper 2
- Latham & Watkins 3
How much does a real estate lawyer earn?
If you hire a real estate lawyer, you may be wondering how much they pay you generally, real estate lawyers. Prepare a draft contract or purchase and sale agreement (PSA). If necessary, negotiate the contract with the seller’s attorney. Ensure that all property documents are attached and that any issues have been resolved.
Prepare registration documents. Prepare a HUD-1 report. This is a document that lists all costs associated with the sale of the home. Please make sure all documents you need for sale have their records.
How much does a real estate attorney earn in different areas?
The salary of a real estate attorney varies from region to region. In commercial and energy firms, salaries for real estate attorneys are generally much higher.
For example, the average income for a real estate lawyer in a commercial firm is $104,229. Workers in this field earn $103,230 in retail and $94,469 in energy firms. However, real estate lawyers may not want to work in this field, as the average salary is the lowest at $71,598.
How much does a real estate lawyer cost?
For example, attorneys charge by the hour for legal matters or to talk to you. A real estate attorney may charge between $150 and $350 per hour. However, it is also common for real estate agents to charge a flat fee for preparing sales documents and reviewing contracts.
Working with a lawyer puts you in control. You can decide in advance how many hours you want to pay for. This way, you don’t have to write a blank check and expect to stay within your budget.
It is often cheaper to work with a real estate agent despite a higher hourly rate because they do less work for you.
In which states do I need a real estate attorney?
Several states, including Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, and New Jersey. In New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia, the law requires the physical presence of an attorney during the real estate transaction.
These requirements may change as new laws come into effect. So consult with your local real estate professional to ensure your transaction meets local requirements.
A solicitor can quickly save you money in the short term. It’s important always to be vigilant, and a licensed attorney can save you a lot of trouble.
Sheena Whitlock, a property expert, and blogger with over 15 years of experience in the field. The knowledge and skills Sheena has acquired during her career have given her invaluable insight into the property management business.
She has done her Property Development BSc (Hons) from the University of Portsmouth and completed her Master’s Degrees in Property Management from the University of Chicago.
As a professional, she has spent time working for various companies as a property management officer and currently works at Asset Info Hub where she shares her knowledge and experience on various property matters with people around the world, questioning their queries via blogging and virtual consulting services.