A transactional paralegal specializes in preparing documents and assisting in real estate transactions that involve individuals or businesses. Like generalist paralegals, the transactional specialist usually needs an associate degree or certification in paralegal studies. You may work for a general law practice, a firm that specializes in real estate or as a self-employed contractor.
Various types of paralegals draft basic legal documents. A transactional paralegal's primary role is to draft contracts used in in-state and out-of-state real estate deals. Such deals can include the purchase or transfer of ownership of subdivisions and timeshare properties. Depending on the nature of the deal, the paralegal prepares the documents and submits them to the necessary state office or government agency on behalf of her clients.
Transactional paralegals may also perform or help a client perform due diligence in preparation of an offer in a real estate deal. This may include a visit to the property, review of financial statements from the current owner, interviews with owners, market analyses and other types of investigation into the market value of the property. The results of the due diligence are shared with the client so that she can decide whether to make an offer and at what price and terms.
Some transactional paralegals focus specifically on or engage in helping lawyers perform closing services with mortgage lenders. This role involves a variety of tasks that include title searches, preparation of settlement documents, preparation of disclosure statements for buyers and sellers, preparation of legal deeds and drafting of any other memos and documentation lawyers provide mortgage lenders and customers in the closing process. The paralegal may also sit in as the papers are being signed when a loan closes.
A transactional paralegal may perform additional administrative tasks for an employer. Paralegals conduct legal research in any setting. A transactional paralegal would likely spend a lot of time researching state and federal real estate laws related to specific transactions. She might also prepare binders of materials for lawyers or clients and complete basic accounting and billing tasks in a small office.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.