Monday, March 31, 2008

Finding a Real Estate Attorney

Finding a good real estate attorney can actually be hard work. Yes you can't swing a dead cat without hitting an attorney that will do a residential closing, but you will need something better than that as an investor.

Here are some questions you should ask the prospective attorney:

- What percentage of your business is real estate related?
- How long have you been in business?
- How many investment properties do you own/manage?
- Can you assist me in closing properties using other methods such as lease/options, seller financing, land trusts, and subject-to?

As always the best way to find someone is via referrals and/or the local REIA group. If you invest in other areas (non-local) here is a site I used that (so far) has produced a pre-screened list of decent attorneys - LegalMatch.

Remember, you still have to ask the right questions:

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

How much is that House Worth? Get an appraisal online.

If you are not a real estate agent, getting good comp data is difficult unless you have a good relationship with someone (i.e. my sister is a Realtor). Yes, Zillow and CyberHomes provide good AVS (Automated Valuation Systems) data in a pinch for finding potentially good deals, but when you want to make an offer and it comes down to Brass Tacks (is that still a saying?) - then there are a couple of good services to get electronic appraisals. I have used several in the past, my favorite was FirstAMRES but they have been changing their pricing and it is less affordable than it used to be - although still worth it (this is not a time to save pennies when you could earn thousands of dollars).

A new service that has caught my eye is
Electronic Appraiser On-Line Home Valuations. This service lets you get almost instant house values online which I believe to be more accurate than when I just use Zillow. Try running a few investment properties that you own through this and see if you get the same results.