Do I Need To Hire A Real Estate Attorney To Sell My House?


Milwaukee is a large city with a large housing stock, and as a result there are a lot of houses that sell annually. Every sale of a house or property can have it’s own nuances and often times will involve a Title company and an attorney.  While not required in Wisconsin for real estate closings, an attorney can assist their client with all aspects regarding the sale and/or purchase of real estate.  When an attorney is involved in a real estate transaction, they will typically either charge a flat rate or bill you hourly for their services, varying depending on the complexity of the transaction.

Obviously if it is a complex closing, the fees will be charged accordingly.  There are several benefits of using an attorney during the real estate closing process.

4 Benefits of Having an Attorney To Close a Sale of a House

In a place like Milwaukee, even though it is not mandatory to have an attorney, you can choose to hire a lawyer to assist with the paperwork and review the closing statements.

The need for an attorney or lawyer is optional. Some may choose to use an attorney for additional peace of mind, while others chose not to.  You do not need a lawyer to sell your house.  You can do that on your own, or with the assistance of your real estate broker.

Hiring an attorney has the following advantages:

1. Complete Knowledge About The Real Estate Closing Process

A real estate lawyer or attorney has complete knowledge about the real estate closing process. They have the knowledge and experience to tackle different situations and iron out any potential issues that may arise. Hiring them will be useful in giving your piece of mind.

2. Review All Closing Documents

They can help in reviewing the closing documents and settlement statement.

3. Offer Counseling

Attorneys can counsel you on how to structure the deal, assist with negotiating through a possible home inspection issue, etc.

4. Provide You Peace of Mind

If you’re not familiar with real estate transactions, it can be stressful for some.  For some, hiring an attorney is an expense they’re willing to incur to give them piece of mind throughout the entire process.

How Much Does a Real Estate Lawyer Cost?

Every law firm has its own standard charges – some will charge a flat fee while others will charge an hourly rate.  The larger well-known firms will typically have higher rates.  Typical hourly rates that we have seen have been $200-450/hour rate depending on the law firm and the services needed..

What Are The Documents Required For Your Attorney?

Some attorneys will basically step in and handle the work that the Title agent would typically take care of, while others will simply review the final documents for the Title agent.

Some of the important items needs for closing:

1. Property Tax Bills

The real estate property tax bills from the previous year. This is an important document and one that the closing agent or your attorney can pull from online resources.  They’ll use the last year’s tax bill to calculate the prorated tax amount.

2. Water and Sewer Bills

In addition to the property tax bills are the water and sewer bills. This is handled the same was as the property tax bill – it is prorated through the date of closing based on the prior quarter bill.  You also have the option to order a final bill and to do that you would have to call in to the municipality with the final water meter reading so the proper bill can be created.

3. Mortgage Payoffs from Lender

Your closing agent or attorney will need seller authorization to contact any lenders that appear on title to order payoff statements.  These statements will be good through the planned closing date and the closing agent or attorney will pay them off out of the proceeds from the closing.  Once the lender has received the payoff, they will this issue a mortgage satisfaction which will then clear them from the title.

4. Title Insurance Policy Documents

Title insurance policy is provided by the closing agent or attorney.  If you have an old policy from when you purchased the home, this may speed up the process some and possibly even reduce the cost of the title insurance policy.

5. Lien Waivers

If contractors have provided services within the last 6 months on the property being sold, lien waivers from those contractors will need to be provided at closing.  This is proof that the contractor has been paid in full.

6. Condo Association Documents

If you are a member of any kind of homeowner association in the city of Milwaukee or surrounding areas, the condo association documents will need to be provided at closing.  Also some associations charge a fee to transfer ownership.


Hiring an attorney to assist you if you need sell a house in Milwaukee can provide additional peace of mind, however there are additional expenses incurred in using an attorney.  Thankfully we have an unbelievable team of people we work with where an attorney is typically not needed, which saves the seller some expenses.  We encourage everyone to have their attorney review the documents and some of our clients decide to take that route, while others feel comfortable handling it without an attorney being involved.

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