How To Become A Real Estate Lawyer: A Step-By-Step Guide

About 61% of Americans own their home, meaning that more than half of Americans own real estate. Individuals who own real estate and do not have a thorough knowledge of the real estate market can get into legal battles. That’s where real estate lawyers come in.

If you are interested in the real estate market and finance, you might consider a career in real estate law. Real estate lawyers enjoy stable job security and above-average salaries.

This guide provides practical information on how to become a lawyer specializing in real estate.

What is real estate law?

Real estate law is a branch of civil law that governs the ownership and use of landed property. Real estate law determines who has the right to occupy a plot of land or a building, and for how long. This legal specialization is also known as real estate law.

Real estate law includes titles, deeds, zoning, estate planning, and property taxes. It governs property rights and the limitations of those rights established by government or agreements (e.g. rental agreements, purchase agreements).

Property and land use laws vary by state. For a real estate attorney to oversee a transaction in one state, they must be licensed to practice there.

What do real estate lawyers do?


The main focus of a real estate attorney is protecting their client’s interests under state laws. This goal entails a variety of other responsibilities, including the following.

  • Provide legal advice on property management, property taxes, property restrictions and state laws
  • Preparing and reviewing legal documents such as purchase agreements, titles and mortgage and transfer documents
  • Assessing legal risks in real estate documents and advising clients on this
  • Ensuring compliance with state laws during real estate transactions
  • Supervising the closing and transfer of titles
  • Negotiating settlements on behalf of clients during real estate disputes
  • Representing clients in court in real estate fraud

Real estate lawyers must be skilled at negotiating and have an in-depth knowledge of the real estate market.


A real estate attorney earns more than $87,000 a year on average. Compared to the average US salary of $58,260, real estate attorneys are on a higher rung of the income ladder. However, their income may vary by location, experience level, and clientele.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 10% employment growth for lawyers from 2021 to 2031. This indicates a steady demand for real estate lawyers in the coming years as more people invest in land ownership.

Skills for practicing real estate law

Practicing real estate law requires a strategic mindset, as these professionals must navigate the market, win over clients and resolve disputes with counterparties. Below are essential skills that every real estate attorney should develop to succeed.

Analytical skills

A real estate attorney needs a critical mind to analyze legal provisions, detect potential risks and advise clients accordingly.

Communicative and speaking skills

When it comes to legal jargon, most real estate investors have a superficial understanding at best. Therefore, real estate lawyers need to know how to break down legal concepts and documents into understandable language for their clients and other parties involved in transactions. These lawyers must also speak clearly when presenting their case in court.

Interpersonal skills

Real estate attorneys must earn the trust and respect of their clients by demonstrating legal expertise and empathy for clients’ situations.


Objective assessment of agreements, legal restrictions and provisions in a real estate transaction is essential to the career of lawyers. With these skills, attorneys can negotiate settlements and prepare compelling cases in court.


Legal research involves finding and retrieving the right information to support a legal position. A real estate lawyer should be able to find precedents pertaining to the situation at hand and advise his client accordingly.

To write

A real estate attorney must be precise when preparing legal documents for a transaction so that there is no room for misinterpretation.

How to become a real estate lawyer

Law is one of the oldest professions. The traditional path to becoming a lawyer is relatively standard in all countries. However, real estate attorneys need to go a step further, as they need to be rooted in both the law and the real estate market.

If you decide this career is for you and are wondering how to become a real estate attorney, below are the steps to go through.

Earn a bachelor’s degree

The first step to becoming a lawyer is to earn a bachelor’s degree. Many law schools prefer candidates from pre-law majors, but there are no strict restrictions on undergraduate degree choices. Any four-year undergraduate degree from an accredited college qualifies you to apply for a law degree.

However, undergraduate students who wish to specialize in real estate law should consider a major in business, economics or psychology.

Pass the LSAT

Once you’ve earned a bachelor’s degree, the next step is to pursue law school. To be considered for admission to a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA), candidates must pass the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)®.

The LSAT is an integral part of the law school admissions process used to determine how well applicants would perform in a law program. The exam tests students’ comprehension, analytical and writing skills.

Many ABA-accredited law schools now accept the GRE instead of the LSAT.

Earn a Real Estate lawyer Diploma

It usually takes three years of full-time law school studies to earn a law degree. However, some schools offer part-time programs for students with other commitments. Part-time courses usually take longer.

The first year of law school focuses on the fundamentals of law. In the final year or two, students can take up real estate law as their specialty and gain experience through an internship.

But how much does a law degree cost? The ABA publishes tuition data reported by law schools. According to this data, law school tuition costs an average of $40,791 per year for full-time students in the state. This is a total of $122,373, excluding tuition and living expenses, after three years of law school.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. graduate degree programs as a whole average less than $20,000 per year in tuition and fees, making law school particularly expensive. So is law school worth it? If you want to become a real estate lawyer, that’s the path we recommend.

Students who need help financing their degree can apply for grants and student loans from government and private sources.

Pass the bar

After completing your law degree program, you must sit the bar exam. This test determines whether you are qualified to practice in your state. Note that each state has its own requirements for the bar exam.

Passing the bar qualifies you to obtain the attorney license necessary to practice law in the United States. Check out our list of the best law school loans to get started.