Finding an Attorney & Signing a Contract
Before you sign any documents to purchase a home, you should consider hiring an attorney.
The attorney should be experienced in real estate transactions. Often, the best way to find an attorney is through the recommendation of friends and family who were satisfied with their attorney's performance in the closing of their home. It is your attorney's responsibility to protect your interests during the home-buying process.
Once you have found an attorney, review his or her credentials and request references. Some attorneys quote a fixed amount for reviewing all the documents pertaining to the purchase and for representing you at the closing, while others charge an hourly rate. Agree with the attorney on a fee in advance.
After you have found the home you want to buy and have hired an attorney to represent you, the next step is to sign the contract of sale. The contract signing usually requires a good faith deposit (earnest money) from you to the seller. In your contract, you may wish to have terms which stipulate that the purchase is conditional subject to a home, termite, and radon inspection, your ability to get mortgage financing, and the appraisal value of the home. The contact could also contain a clause that stipulates the price can either be renegotiated or terminated if problems arise in these areas.