No real estate course or seminar is a substitute for a good attorney. Finding a good real estate attorney may be difficult, since most attorneys are not themselves investors or familiar with creative transactions. Most attorneys will give you just enough advice to keep them from getting sued, but not enough advice to show you how to make more money out of a deal.
A good real estate attorney is one who advises you of the risks, suggest alternative ways of doing a transaction and charges a reasonable fee for doing so. A bad real estate attorney either says nothing, points out problems without offering solutions or systematically kill deals. This is why attorneys are frequently referred to as “deal killers”.
Ask other investors in your area who they use as an attorney. Join a local real estate investors association and ask for referrals. Ask local real estate agents and title companies for referrals. Do not open up the Yellow Pages and pick someone who simply CLAIMS to be a real estate expert.
When interviewing a potential attorney, ask the following questions:
» Do you own rental property?
» How many closings do you do per year?
» What kind of unusual transactions have you done recently?
» Have you done any evictions? Foreclosures? Zoning board appeals? Condo conversions?
» Can you explain to me the following concepts: lease/option, wraparound mortgage, installment land contract?
» Do you have an assistant who can return my calls?
» Can I email you with questions?
Get a feel for the experience and personality of the attorney. A good attorney on your side is worth his weight in gold, especially if he can do creative closings.
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