A broker gets paid when the deal is done, and their job is to locate space and negotiate some of the economics of the deal. An attorney’s compensation isn’t contingent on finishing the deal, so a good commercial real estate attorney will provide an understanding of the entire structure of the deal, beyond just the economic terms.
Brokers are not Attorneys
Only an attorney can provide legal advice – not a real estate broker or an accountant. A commercial property attorney knows about the specific laws that apply to commercial property transactions. An attorney with relevant commercial property experience can protect your legal rights and has a unique understanding of property law. He/she will know what to look for in a commercial property transaction, whether it is a purchase, a sale or a lease.
An experienced commercial real estate attorney can help you understand your rights and obligations and tell you what is in your documents and what is missing from them. A free online forum or a general attorney without a specific focus on commercial property will miss these nuances, and the tenant is usually the one who will suffer the economic and legal consequences. A broker can’t help you once the deal is done.
What Issues Can a Commercial Property Attorney Help With?
Commercial property, like office, retail, industrial or multi-family housing, are governed under different laws than single-family or residential housing. An attorney who specializes in residential property will not have the same experience and understanding of the commercial real estate laws. A commercial property attorney can provide tailored legal guidance based on your situation.
Here are some of the practice areas for a commercial property attorney:
- Zoning and land use
- Property taxation
- Commercial property insurance
- Ownership and title issues
- Leasing negotiations and disputes
- Condo declarations
- Purchase and sale transactions
- Property contract breaches and business disputes
Commercial properties have a different design, function and type of occupancy as compared to residential properties. The commercial property industry typically has separate, state-specific laws that apply. The consumer protections in residential real estate don’t apply to these types of transactions
When working with commercial properties, there is a lot of documentation and paperwork tied up with business use and contracts. Each transaction is different, and your online search won’t know the nuances of your transaction- that is why most articles say “be sure to consult with a commercial real estate attorney.” What about corporate ownership, leasehold, tenant claims or environmental issues? Those might not be in that form you downloaded online, but how will you know?
The great thing about having a commercial property attorney on your team is that there is a very specific subset of laws that the attorney knows very, very well. Your attorney should understand the laws, clarify issues, represent you and your interests.
By choosing to work with a commercial property attorney, you have someone who will help you reduce risk, protect your business financially, spot anything weird on the deal, and negotiate in your best interest.
Ready to protect your business assets and negotiate for the best deal possible? Let’s discus how to do that!
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