Real Estate Paralegal Careers
Types of Paralegals
Many states require lawyers to participate in all real estate transactions. However, some states don’t, and often use attorneys only when they’re involved in large commercial deals, or when problems arise. The details of the paralegal’s job will therefore depend on what state they work in.
No matter where the paralegal works, the types of transactions are similar. Some of the transactions a paralegal will assist in are sales, purchases, leases and foreclosures and short sales. These types of transactions can involve drafting contracts and lease agreements, preparing addendums, and closing documents. In some cases they will prepare letters of intent or estoppel agreements, or they may have to file title objection letter after a title search.
Besides document preparation and handling, every real estate transaction requires interaction with a variety of other real estate professionals, as well as clients and government employees. The real estate paralegal may have to attend closings, meet with title and escrow officers, or clerks at the city planning office. They may also need to go over loan documents, soil reports, well tests, and report on each to their employer.
Skills needed to become a Real Estate Paralegal
The real estate paralegal should be well versed in many kinds of real estate transactions and documents. A good deal of time will be spent preparing and filing paperwork. The qualified paralegal will also have good phone skills, know how to navigate office technology, and work with software unique to the real estate industry.
A good paralegal will also be able to keep a cool head when a transaction may involve serious issues where people’s emotions are high. For instance, in the case of a foreclosure, the parties involved are unwilling participants. They therefore will likely be uncooperative with the law firm’s office. A real estate paralegal will know how to handle these kinds of situations with professionalism and good decorum.
Another skill real estate paralegals need is a high degree of integrity as they handle many personal financial documents and private information on individuals, organizations, and corporations.
Some real estate paralegals find it useful to obtain a real estate license as part of their career track. Others will pursue a paralegal certification or an associate’s degree or higher. The courses that the student takes will give them a good understanding of the legal system. They will also select certain courses that will pertain specifically to real property law. These core courses will prepare the real estate paralegal to operate within their specialized field. Some course topics that are helpful to pursuing this career are as follows:
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- Real Property
- Federal Income Tax Laws
- Legal Document Preparation
- Alternative Dispute Resolution and Mediation
Real Estate Paralegal Salary and Career Outlook
The salary for the real estate paralegal is on par with many others in the paralegal profession. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the annual salary for a real estate paralegal ranging from $37,690 to $94,960 a year. Many firms dealing with real estate transactions will look for paralegals that have been in the real estate industry and will bring that experience to their practice.
These experienced paralegals can expect to start higher on the salary scale. On the low end, new paralegals can still expect a decent wage with an opportunity for advancement. The outlook for this career path remains healthy as real estate transactions continue under all types of economic circumstances.
2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and employment figures for Paralegals and Legal Assistants reflect national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed April 2023.