Need legal representation for a dispute with a contractor or tenant? Are you being foreclosed upon illegally and need to understand your rights and obligations? Is Eminent Domain power forcing you into an unlawful sale of your property against your will?
The practice of Real Estate Law includes a myriad of principles and concepts that are constantly changing and the prices for such services are increasing due to these complex modifications and additions of new laws.
How do these changes in real estate law affect your rights and obligations as a home or property owner? The practice of Real Estate Law governs all forms of ownership in real and personal property including private residences, ADUs, land, and rental units. For the average property owner, legal needs are usually limited to property leases or trust agreements. However, property ownership may require other legal services due to disputes with neighbors, contractors, tenants and city services.
Whatever your legal needs may be pertaining to owning property, here are online legal services that can help your situation expediently, affordably and effectively.
Table of Contents
- Online Legal Services for Homeowners
- Rocket Lawyer
- Additional Legal Vendors & Resources
- Recommended Legal Reading for Homeowners
Online Legal Services for Homeowners
Years ago, online legal services were met with heavy skepticism when they first appeared in the marketplace. However, with time, they have proven to be excellent and convenient resources for advice, legal document review, and litigation representation. With a number of online legal services now available, how can anyone know which is the right one for their specific need?
Examples of Real Estate Legal Documents & Services
- Liability Release Forms
- Dealing with Difficult Neighbors
- Property Damage Disputes
- Rental/Lease Agreements
- Landlord/Tenant Disputes
- Eviction Notices
- Contract Reviews
- Foreclosure Options and Avoidance
- Real Estate Purchase Agreements
- Real Estate Easements
- Real Estate Agent Agreements
- Real Estate Development Agreements
- Wills & Living Trusts
We reviewed leading online legal services with a specific evaluation on their Real Estate Law offerings and pricing packages.
Rocket Lawyer was started in 2008 in San Francisco by Charley Moore, a Gulf War Veteran, US Naval Academy and UC Berkeley Law graduate, whose experience in representing startups gave him the idea of providing quality legal advice without high costs. The company provides both individuals and small-to-medium businesses with online legal assistance – including incorporation, estate planning and legal document review.
Moore’s mission for the company is built on the concept of “Do It With Me” (instead of the old school “Do It For Me”) that empowers individuals to understand their legal issues and work in conjunction with a quality legal representative. He believes that consumers of services need to take on some of the burden of this service, which helps reduce cost. An example of this type of involvement is entering basic information for the preparation of a given legal document.
Charley Moore Explains His Vision for “Do It With Me” Services
Video courtesy of TEDx Talks.
Too often, clients leave critical aspects of their personal and business interests to another professional. Relying heavily on one person, without gaining necessary knowledge, can lead to faulty legal decision-making. Addressing this issue, Rocket Lawyer encourages their customers to get control of all aspects of their legal needs, while cautioning to stop expecting others to do everything for you.
In addition to offering the most value for a membership, Rocket Lawyer offers a library of over 1,000+ documents that covers many situations pertinent to home, land and property ownership. The company also provides a network of attorneys that its customers can consult with on legal issues through its On Call service. Of the online services we reviewed, Rocket Lawyer is best suited for handling complex legal needs.
A simple search of any term on their website returns an example of the type of document needed, as well as a quick primer on the use-case scenario with questions and answers that pertain to the subject matter. The results page also returns related documents for special situations or specific usage for your geographic location.
Rocket Lawyer Pricing
Premium memberships are currently $39.99 per month. This includes:
- Unlimited Document Creation
- Answers to Legal Questions
- 30-Minute Consultations on New Issues
- Up to 40% Off when Hiring a Rocket Lawyer On Call Attorney
New members are afforded a 7-Day Free Trial, which can be canceled before the next billing cycle. Memberships can be canceled at any time.
Should you prefer their a la carte services, the current fees are:
- $9.99 for Document Defense Document Review
- $39.99 for Legal Document Creation
- $49.99 for a Response to a Legal Question
- $59.99 for a 30-Minute Consultation
Popular Real Estate Documents from Rocket Lawyer
- Eviction Notice
- Furnished Apartment Lease
- Home Rental Agreement
- Homeowners’ Association Proxy
- Parking Space Lease
- Real Estate Agent Agreement
- Residential Lease
- Storage Space Lease Agreement
- More Real Estate documents…
Rocket Lawyer Service Demo Video
Arguably the oldest provider of contemporary on-demand legal services, LegalShield was founded in 1972 by Harland Stonecipher in Ada, Oklahoma as Sportsman’s Motor Club. The name was later changed to Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. upon its incorporation in 1976 and initial public offering in 1984. The company was later purchased by MidOcean Partners in 2011 and returned to being privately held, and soon began an overall re-branding, which included its current name.
Interestingly, the company was created after Stonecipher was involved in a car accident in 1969, for which he needed legal services to defend himself. Modeled after European legal defense plans, Sportsman’s Motor Club reimbursed members for legal fees relating to any motor vehicle accident.
The current version of Stonecipher’s vision offers pre-paid legal services through a network of almost 7,000 independent attorneys across the US and Canada. Perhaps the most popular brand under the LegalShield umbrella is IDShield, a reputation management and privacy service that provides identity theft monitoring and restoration to identity theft victims.
LegalShield currently offers 3 Legal Plan Memberships from which to choose:
- $24.95 per month for Individuals & Families
- $49.00 per month for a Small Business
- $145 to Start a Business
The Individual Plan includes unlimited consultations and legal document reviews with a licensed attorney.
Should you prefer their a la carte services, the fees are:
- $39.99 for a Single Document
- $59.99 for a 30-Minute Consultation
Founded in 2001 by criminal defense attorney, Robert Shapiro, celebrity entrepreneur, Brian Lee, Brian Liu and Edward Hartman, LegalZoom is headquartered in Glendale, California. The idea behind the company was the brainchild of Brian Lee, a UCLA undergraduate and UCLA Law graduate, who, after a year of practicing law, developed the concept for online services, but realized he needed a high profile partner.
Shapiro, with the OJ Simpson murder trial in his rearview mirror, received a cold call from Lee at his office late one evening. With chutzpah that has been his hallmark since childhood, Lee gave Shapiro an over-the-phone 2-minute “elevator pitch”, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Brian Lee Recounts His Pitching LegalZoom to Robert Shapiro
Video courtesy of Pando.
Initially, LegalZoom focused on pure documentation – divorce and bankruptcy forms, prenuptial agreements, wills – anything that could be templatized and offered to customers as DIY or self-help legal document preparation. The first incarnation of the company’s offerings were planned to be similar to that of Turbo Tax, a shrink-wrapped box product sold at Office Max and Staples. The company quickly realized that in order to grow market share and scale efficiently, they needed to offer downloadable products from the Internet.
Today, LegalZoom offers online documentation services, legal advisory services to businesses, legal education and articles on legal aspects and opinions on current events, such as changes to real estate capital gains laws and how easements may affect your property.
Legal Zoom is best for consumers who need to generate self-service, legally binding documents. Since pricing is variable, you will need to check the pricing for a specific requirement online. Factors that determine pricing include: state; document type; level of assistance needed (e.g. Basic, Comprehensive or Estate Planning for wills); and length of plan (monthly vs. annual).
For residential lease packages, consumers have two options:
- Price: $29
- Detailed 12-page lease with 20+ provisions
- State required disclosure forms
- Forms for managing your rental
- 1 week of unlimited revisions
- Price: $49
- Includes every item in the Deluxe package
- Also includes unlimited revisions for an additional 6 months
Popular LegalZoom Documents & Plans
LegalZoom It’s a Whole New World Video
Additional Legal Vendors & Resources
Additional Legal Resources for Homeowners
- Rocket Lawyer Trustpilot Reviews
- LegalShield Trustpilot Reviews
- LegalZoom Trustpilot Reviews
- Nolo Legal Resources for Homeowners
- Essential Guide for Landlords
Recommended Legal Reading for Homeowners
- Important Must-Have Legal Documents for Homeowners
- What to Include in a Renovation Contract
- Home Renovation Contracts: Costly Mistakes to Avoid
- How to Tap Into Your Home Equity Without Adding Debt
- Homeowner Liability With DIY Projects
- How Landlords Can Find The Perfect Tenant
Legal Disclaimer: The information provided in this article and on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available in this article and on this site are for general informational purposes only.
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