Select A Department:

Courses in this Department

How Ready Are You to Buy a Home?

Determining Your Dream Home and Finding It!

Factory Built Homes Are Worth a Look

Purchase Manufactured Homes with FHA Loan

How to Buy a Foreclosed Home

Pros and Cons of Corner Lots

Know the Neighborhood Before You Buy

Tune in to an Open House on the Radio

Finding a Qualified Broker or Agent

Shopping for a Loan and Choosing a Lender

How to Improve Your Credit

How to Survive the Loan Application Process

Making an Offer and Signing Contracts

Cancel Your Contract in 3 Days

Understanding the Closing/Settlement Process

Choosing Home Inspection and Settlement Professionals

Double Check Your New Home - The Walkthrough

Know Your Consumer Rights

Seniors Have Many Housing Opportunities

Preparing for the Big Day -- Relocating Moving

Make Your Home Your Castle - Cost Effective Redecorating Ideas


Finding a Qualified Attorney

And the word "qualified" is key!

Help First and Always
Avoid anyone who will hamper the deal.

Your first goal in finding a qualified attorney is to find one that will actually help you and the process of buying a home, not hamper it. Some attorneys feel they aren't doing their job if they don't throw at least one wrench into the deal. Be sure to feel your prospective attorney out for this trait and avoid it.

It does matter.

You want a qualified and experienced attorney who has successfully completed at least 50 closings in the past 3 years. You want someone who is specialized in real estate transactions. It is nice if your uncle is an attorney, but it won't help you much if he specializes in criminal cases. Real estate transactions are complicated and specific. You want someone who is indoctrinated with the terms and conditions of these particular kinds of contracts. They will be your best ally.

Be sure they are reasonable and explained.

As far as fees go, you should always find out what the fees are going to be and exactly what that fee covers. Get a detailed description of what you are paying for before you hand over the first check. But don't use price as the only factor when hiring an attorney. Look for quality. A couple of extra bucks are worth it when you are talking about a deal involving thousands.

It's essential.

You will be sharing all of your financial data with this person and asking him or her to negotiate on your behalf. Be sure you feel comfortable with her. Don't just hire someone because of his or her resume or record. You also want to hire based on trust.

Not By Instinct Alone
Check them out.

Don't just go by your instinct though. Check the attorney out. Call the local bar association to see if they are members in good standing and don't have any complaints against their file. Trust your instinct, but back it up with concrete data.

Step Back...
Let her do her job.

Then, once you hire an attorney, step back and let her do her job. Heed her advice-that is what you are paying for. Take any suggested action.

Final Note
Keep this in mind.

When you are looking for settlement professionals, you want people who are working for you-not the seller. Be sure to understand who is involved in the process and who they are representing. The more unbiased people involved the better.

Now let's look at some pitfalls to avoid:

1. Not checking and rechecking the contract and loan documents before you sign them. This could save you thousands if something is printed incorrectly´┐Żlike a decimal point. Once it's signed it is very difficult to correct mistakes.

2. Not having a settlement professional to oversee the preparation and execution of documents. Real estate deals are difficult. You will need professional help of one sort or another. Different states require different types of professionals to close these types of deals. Check out your state.

3. Not interviewing the professionals you plan to use in any area of your deal-agents, home inspectors, real estate attorneys, etc. You need to get along well with these people. It pays to take the extra time to check them out. Do you want just anyone knowing your entire financial history? And where you plan to live? You should find someone you are comfortable with.

4. Not checking references and making sure the person recommending a professional has actually used the professional services of that person themselves. Many people see nothing wrong with recommending a friend they personally have never used.

5. Not making sure the professional you use is working exclusively for you. If your agent found the attorney, it is likely that the attorney is working for both you and the seller. How likely is it that he or she will point out errors in the seller's favor? Be sure.

6. Not realizing that a home inspection is really a form of insurance for you. If some major problem is found, you can escape the deal unscathed. If minor problems are found, you can negotiate for them to be fixed on the seller's tab.

7. Thinking you can do the home inspection yourself. There are many reasons this idea is wrong. You need to have a professional report to submit at time of closing so you can negotiate terms to have things fixed. An outside report will hold a lot more credibility than one you typed up yourself. For maximum insurance, use a professional home inspector who is trained in this type of inspection. 8. Thinking the home inspector is infallible. Not every inspection will reveal all the problems in a home. Some problems don't present themselves until later. Be prepared. 9. Hiring a home inspector who also does repairs. This is a conflict of interest and a bad idea.

That's It.
It was a lot to absorb, though.

How about taking a quick quiz to help you review what you've learned in this course? Be sure to review the sections of the course related to your wrong answers!

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