Ask These 5 Questions When Choosing a RESPA Real Estate Attorney

“What the heck is RESPA?”

Many attorneys try to handle real estate matters in addition to their regular practice. Very few lawyers are aware of the complexities of the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act (RESPA) enforced by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD.)

RESPA statutes are consumer protection laws that impact virtually all single family to four family homes. RESPA compliance issues and the remedies available to borrowers who have been victimized by unscrupulous mortgage lenders, title companies and other real estate settlement providers are a real challenge. Even for full-time real estate attorneys, RESPA is a very complex statute. You must be careful and ask questions of the attorney you choose in order to make sure you get the proper legal protection that the RESPA statute i is designed to accomplish. Consumers and Businesses alike are protected when RESPA is in compliance.

Question #1

“What RESPA experience do you have?”

No doubt about it. Start with the big one. Real estate laws and regulations are complicated enough without adding RESPA to the equation. Have they prepared marketing agreements that comply? Have they attended RESPA specific training courses and seminars? Have they kept abreast of the most recent HUD guidelines and court cases nationally regarding RESPA? How many RESPA cases and clients have they handled? What types of RESPA cases did they handle? Were the issues similar to yours? What were their results? Don’t be shy!

Question # 2

“What type of reputation does the attorney have?”

This is a tough one to figure out – so do your homework! Is the attorney primarily a transaction attorney or a litigator skilled in courtroom procedures if necessary? Your attorney must have the communication skills necessary to work with the other attorney as well as you. The other attorney, if more knowledgeable on RESPA can run over you and your lawyer. Remember that many cases are won or lost on the attorney’s knowledge and high ethical standards. Check the local Bar association for background. Get references and check them out thoroughly.

Question # 3

“What type of resources does the attorney have?”

No attorney can do everything well. Make sure that your attorney has the resources available to work your case efficiently. Does the attorney have a well established network of experts and fellow attorneys who can network with to add value and expertise to your problem? Some attorneys try to do it all and act as a one man band. Your attorney’s ego should not be larger than your case. A good attorney quickly involves others with higher degrees of expertise in areas where it is needed to represent you properly. The experts they use are a reflection of your new attorney.

Question # 4

“What about communications and follow up?”

The hallmark of a good attorney is the degree of communication he has with his clients. If you have to ask “What’s going on with my case?” then you have a problem. You don’t want to have these types of issues after choosing an attorney. Be blunt and ask how often you will be contacted and updated. How will you be contacted? Will the attorney just send you a form letter or use personal communication and contact? How do you prefer to be contacted? E-mail, phone calls, letters? Ask for it. “Are you too busy to handle me? Are you going to push me to a lower level staffer or junior attorney?” Clear communication and updates can ensure success and results.

Question # 5

“How do they charge?”

Some attorneys charge a flat fee, some charge a contingency based upon results and some charge hourly rates. The type of problem or case generally dictates the type of charge. There is an old saying, “Speed, Efficiency and Price – pick TWO!” The cheapest attorney may not be the best and the most expensive attorney may not be the best either! Make sure that you are not penny wise and dollar foolish. You are choosing an attorney for results. Make sure that your attorney has the financial incentive to work your case efficiently and successfully.

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What You Need to Know to Pick the Right Real Estate Attorney

If you are a first-time or new investor, you might be intimidated when gurus, teachers, and other Investors start throwing around the phrase “your team.” I know I was. They are referring to the team of servicers who are going to be your right hand men when you orchestrate a real estate transaction. They are your real estate attorney, contractor, title and/or closing agent, mortgage broker, accountant, insurance agent, and your herd of real estate agents. For someone who has never bought and sold an investment property, trying to assemble the right team members is a daunting task.

In order to help you avoid some costly mistakes, here is some advice and some questions to ask when you are interviewing perhaps the most important member of your team – your real estate attorney…

Dealing with an inexperienced or uninformed real estate attorney could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars and many nights’ sleep. You need to be sure that your attorney is up to speed on all of the latest laws and regulations that are being enacted. If not, you could end up paying for their mistakes.

A great way to find real estate attorneys who are knowledgeable of the creative real estate niche is to ask other Investors in your area. Go to a local REIA meeting and ask which attorney people are using. You can also ask local real estate brokers and agents for referrals. A last resort should be looking in the Yellow Pages for real estate attorneys. This should be a last resort because any lawyer can place an ad in the yellow pages. You are looking for ones who are recommended by people in the business.

Another good idea is to go to your local library and check out a copy of the Martindale Hubbell legal directory. It lists attorneys by location, tells you where they went to school, and rates them. It is a good idea to also look up the attorneys that come with a personal recommendation in this directory

Do not settle on the first attorney you call. You need to interview a number of them and pick the one that you are most comfortable with, who has the best referrals, and who seems the most knowledgeable about what you are doing. There are a lot of attorneys out there who will shoot down your ideas just because they don’t understand the law.

Here are some questions to ask when you are interviewing a prospective real estate attorney.

1. How often do you handle residential real estate deals?
2. Do you work with other investors?
3. How long have you been practicing in this particular area?
4. Do you have any investor references?
5. Do you normally represent buyers? Sellers? Banks?
6. Do you understand the scope of what I will be doing and the services I will be needing? Do you do subject-to transactions? Short sales? Back to back closings?
7. Who will be working on my cases?
8. How do you charge for your services?
9. Do you have malpractice or errors and omissions insurance?
a. They must hold at least enough insurance to cover the home you are going to buy.
10. Have you ever been disciplined by the Bar Association?

Keep in mind while you are dealing with the attorney that YOU are the customer. You should be suspicious of any attorney who is stand-offish, aloof, or says things like “Don’t worry about it, I know what’s best,” without addressing your needs or concerns. If they make you uncomfortable, move on to the next one.

Remember, it is better to pay more for an experienced real estate attorney than to find the cheapest guy in the phone book and hope nothing goes wrong. One small mistake on your attorney’s part could end up costing you thousands and destroying your reputation. Don’t be cheap, but don’t get hosed.

There are tons of ways to make money in real estate, but all of them are useless unless you have a steady flow of motivated sellers and qualified buyers coming into your business. When you have a solid pipeline of prospects, you pick and choose the best of the best and finally take control of your financial future. Find out the most effective ways to turn your real estate investing business roaring and turn it into an absolute cash engine.

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Real Estate Attorney – Role and Responsibilities

Many of us may not realize how a simple looking business of real estate may become complicated at times. As a matter of fact, in some particular situations, it really becomes as complicated as one may find hard to believe. Employing or hiring a real estate attorney thus becomes the need of the day whenever, we plan buying or selling a property. Now,

• Who is a real estate attorney?
• What is his role?
• What are his responsibilities?
• How or why should we consider it a smart move to hire an attorney’s services?

The answer to the question, who is a real estate attorney, is that he is supposed to be a person with:

• Complete knowledge of the industry
• Complete understanding of the related law(s)
• Has a pre-defined approach to real estate laws, rules and regulations.
• Is a proven expert in his field

It is also the fact that a real estate agent and a real estate attorney may never be a specialist in the industry, though both may be good sources to be considered for good profits.

When one would require the services of a Real Estate Attorney?

There are no hard and fast rules that one must hire an attorney in every situation, but there are certain transaction situations, where the same may play a vital role. While purchasing a property in some townhouse or condominiums i.e. common interest development for instance, to ensure that the buyers’ interests are not being surrendered to the common interest entirely; seeking an attorney’s advice is highly advisable.

If one does not have a good understanding in any of the following:

• Complicated paperwork
• CC&R i.e. Conditions, Covenants & Restrictions documentation
• Appropriate law(s) or rule(s) involved in a certain situation
• Lengthy procedure(s) involved, etc.

Then an attorney’s assistance is unavoidable, since he is supposed to have complete knowledge of all the things noted above. He is also expected to know whether, how to read the CC&R and also what to look for.

The Role and Responsibilities of a Real Estate Attorney:

• After going through the papers, client has provided to him, the attorney will prepare the other necessary document(s) too. Following a detailed consultation once a contract is signed between the client and attorney, its attorney’s responsibility to supervise the closing of a transaction.
• Determining the clients’ (the seller) title condition of the property under the transaction is one of the attorney’s prime most responsibilities.
• An attorney must thoroughly review the clients’ purchase contract and the same is done before the contract is signed.
• Dealing and working with the clients’ mortgage loan officer(s), is also the attorney’s responsibility.
• He will also fix meetings with the sellers’ attorney as well as their agents; this is done in order to ensure on what dates the following will be done:
o Attorney approval
o Mortgage commitment
o Home/property inspection
o Contingencies, if any

What an attorney does next?

If the attorney is a specialist in residential real estate, he will guide, especially the first-time home or property buyers, whether why it is important to study the entire deed, legal descriptions, bills, loan and mortgage documents, plat of survey, title insurance policy as well as title etc. Ideally, an attorney should also be capable of changing legal languages in the ongoing purchase contract, and also negotiate the unpaid expenses the seller owes you. Such expenses may include condominium assessments, property taxes or utilities etc. Catching problems or mistakes, if any, is not difficult for an experienced professional thus it will save the client future expenses needed for corrections thereof.

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The Importance of a Real Estate Attorney When You Purchase a Home

Purchasing a home is one of the biggest things you will ever do in your life. And, the actual transaction of the purchase can be very long and complicated. If anything is done incorrectly and mistakes are made, it could result in some serious problems. People have differing opinions about the importance of real estate attorneys, but make no mistake, this is a very important person to hire when you are purchasing a home, be it your first time or your tenth time. As you will see below, there are many steps to be taken when purchasing a home and there are several things that could go wrong. To make sure that you are protected legally and financially, you have to hire the services of an attorney.

The costs of hiring real estate attorneys are different, but budget to pay around $2,000. It may seem like a lot of money, but if you purchase a home for $200,000 you will only be paying around 1% of the price of the home. Also, attorneys generally determine their fees in two different ways; they either charge by the hour, or they charge a flat fee until the sale is closed. So, before you hire an attorney, make sure that you find out how they charge their fees and what services they will be providing you for that fee.

A good way to find an attorney is to talk to an estate agent. They deal with real estate attorneys all the time, because they are in the same industries so the agents will be able to direct you to the most reputable, reliable and professional attorneys in your area. Another point to remember during this process is that real estate attorneys have to be licensed to work in the state in which they are practicing, so make sure that the attorney that you hire has the necessary license to avoid problems in the future.

Why Exactly Do You Need A Real Estate Attorney?

An Attorney y will be able to review your purchase contract/agreement before you actually sign it. If you are purchasing your home for the very first time, then this is a step that you cannot afford to skip. The real estate attorney will also work on your behalf, together with the mortgage loan officer, the real estate gents and the home seller’s attorney; to facilitate the transaction and to make sure that everything goes smoothly and according to the law.

The process of purchasing a home involves much legal documentation that is binding. These documents include; bills of sale (for personal property such as furniture), deeds, legal descriptions, mortgage loan documentation, the title and the title insurance policy. It is very important that you have a real estate attorney representing your interests at the closing of the sale. These are all things that can be very complicated and you need someone to assist you at every step of the way, so that you can understand everything and also ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout.

Some of the problems that could arise for you: The buyer, during the transaction could be the seller leaving unpaid utility bills, condominium assessments and property taxes. The real estate attorney will be able to protect you and make sure that your transition into your new home is as smooth as possible, by protecting your rights as the buyer and making sure that the seller fulfills his/her obligations. If something completely untoward happens during or after the transaction, the real estate attorney will be able to nullify the contract. They can negotiate the expenses of the transaction, and they can change the legal language in the contract.

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Real Estate Attorneys – 7 Important Services They Offer

The real estate deals are booming and so is the entire industry. This undoubtedly has shown the boom factor to the real estate attorneys too. As a matter of fact, it essentially doesn’t matter to these attorneys whether or not this industry is booming. Since it is obvious that shelter is one of the fundamentals for livelihood, there exist property sellers and property buyers at all times and in every case making real estate attorneys to be always in high demand. There are various methods how the real estate attorneys are showing their expertise. Below are a few of the services the attorney’s of real estate, provide you with:

1) Property Dispute: A highly apparent scenario where these attorneys are involved is during a property dispute. They help in getting disputes concerning property being resolved by means of litigation etc. They also help in selling of disputed properties in some cases so that the money received from the same could be used for various settlements among people involved.

2) Tenancy disputes: Any dispute concerning landlords and tenants is solved by an attorney of real estates.

3) Property Settlements in cases of death: The properties of the deceased are commonly handled by real estate attorneys. In these cases the properties are sold off to that the heir’s accounts could be settled.

4) Divorce Settlements: These attorneys assist property disputes in general cases of divorce especially when the owners are joint.

5) No broker: When people are not very comfortable with having a broker to deal or sell their property, they entrust such real estate responsibility to a real estate attorney. A few attorneys take such tasks.

6) Working as Advisors/Consultants: Quite many attorneys work for several real estate investors. The real estate investors think it as a good option to hire an attorney as these attorneys can often have smooth transactions done for the investor. An attorney of real estate would do it appropriately and correctly in a much quicker and professional way. Time is always short for a real estate investor due to which he would get more time as the attorney would handle good deals.

7) Information provider: Real estate investors utilize real estate attorneys as richer information source particularly on details about property deals and sales; those which are results of settlement procedures or disputes. The investors gain the benefit of knowing information earlier compared to others. Good deals are frequently availed in this manner.

Whether or not the real estate industry booms, the attorneys concerning to this would no doubt stay in this job.

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