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Seattle, Tacoma, Portland Olympia Attorneys

How Much Does a Real Estate Lawyer Cost in Washington State?

How Much Does a Real Estate Lawyer Cost in Washington State?

If you’re in the process of buying or selling property, you may well be wondering: How much does a real estate lawyer cost in Washington state?

The cost of working with a real estate attorney varies on the basis of several factors. Depending on the situation, you may be charged a flat fee, an hourly rate, or both. It’s important to remember, though, that the cost of hiring a real estate lawyer is often much lower than the eventual cost of not hiring one.

In this post, we go into greater detail on our fee structures and explain how they might apply to you.

Standard Fee Structures

Hourly Rates

Most of our more in-depth work (such as litigation) requires us to charge hourly rates. The rate we charge may depend on the number of attorneys working on your case and the type of work it involves. During your initial consultation, we’ll explain the work your case will require and try to provide an estimate of the overall cost.

Flat Fees

We charge flat fees for various kinds of straightforward actions related to property transactions. For example, if you need us to review a contract, we’ll be able to offer you a flat fee based on the complexity of the agreement.


Occasionally, we’ll incur expenses while working on your case that we’ll pass onto you. These might include costs related to:

  • The preparation and filing of documents
  • Conducting a title search
  • Sending items by mail
  • Travel
  • Court fees
  • Hiring expert consultants.

The Role of a Real Estate Lawyer in Washington State

The job of a real estate lawyer is extremely broad; we help people involved in all kinds of transactions and disputes and who have other legal issues related to residential or commercial property. Our services include:

  • Contract preparation and review: There are a range of legal documents that have a role in real estate transactions and disputes, including purchase agreements, deeds, title search reports, home inspection reports, and more. We can prepare or review these on your behalf, ensuring they comply with requirements and protect your rights.
  • Representation in disputes: Real estate disputes can arise for a host of reasons, including boundary dispute, alleged breach of contract, and disagreement between landlords and their tenants. Our lawyers have plenty of experience when it comes to dispute resolution and lawsuits, and we represent both plaintiffs and defendants.
  • Closing assistance: The closing process can present various difficulties, and these can cause major delays if not handled promptly and correctly. Hiring a lawyer is the best way to minimize the risk of this happening to you.
  • Negotiation: Large property transactions tend to involve extensive negotiations over pricing and other terms. Having a competent real estate attorney in your corner during these negotiations can ensure your interests remain protected.
  • Title searches: Confirming who owns a piece of property, and what its boundaries are, often requires an official title search. Your attorney will be able to do this on your behalf.
  • Guidance on zoning and land use: The state of Washington sets out various rules and requirements when it comes to zoning and land use, such as those in the Planning Enabling Act. Complying with all of these can be difficult without expert legal guidance.
  • Drafting and review of leases: As well as the sale and purchase of property, real estate lawyers can also help you with issues related to leasing arrangements.
  • Foreclosure and short sale assistance: According to ATTOM, a provider of real estate data insights, foreclosure filings were submitted in relation to over 357,000 U.S. properties in 2023. This marked a 10% increase over the figure in 2022. The prospect of losing your property is never an inviting one, but there’s a lot a real estate lawyer can do to help when you’re faced with a short sale or foreclosure, such as entering mediation with your lender on your behalf, negotiating a new repayment plan, or fighting your case against the bank in court.
  • Estate planning: You should hire a lawyer to help you arrange the distribution of your assets after your passing. We generally handle straightforward estate-planning tasks (such as the drafting of wills) on a flat-fee basis.

Are There Unexpected Legal Costs in Real Estate Transactions?

We do our best to accurately estimate the overall cost of client engagement with us early on in the relationship. We can usually do this reasonably well, but there are certain issues that can arise and inflate bills. These include:

  • Escrow charges: An escrow is legal arrangement with a neutral third party who takes funds from a buyer and releases them to the seller once the buyer is satisfied that the conditions of the transaction have been met. Providers of this service charge a fee; your lawyer may arrange for this to be carried out on your behalf and send you the invoice.
  • Environmental issues: Environmental issues (such as soil contamination) can affect the value, usability, and regulatory compliance of a piece of property. If a problem like this arises, a lawyer can work with you to make sure it’s addressed so that your transaction can proceed.
  • Changes in transaction details: These can include any modifications to the original terms of a real estate deal, such as adjustments in the purchase price, closing date, or property specifications. Such changes can lead to additional legal or administrative costs.

Getting the Help You Need With Your Washington Real Estate Transaction

Weighing up the costs associated with buying or selling a house can be a headache, but it’s important to recognize the expenses that are too important to avoid. Hiring a lawyer when you’re involved in a property transaction or dispute in the state of Washington is an investment in your financial security, your property, and your peace of mind.

If you need our help, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call us at (206) 621-1110 (Seattle), (253) 572-1000 (Tacoma), (360) 742-3500 (Olympia), or (971) 416-0881 (Portland) to schedule a consultation about your situation.