Board-certified real estate lawyer Gary M. Singer writes about the housing market at SunSentinel.com/housekeys each Friday. To ask him a question, go to SunSentinel.com/askpro
Q: I am about to purchase my first home and have heard horror stories about people losing their deposits or buying a house with problems. What should I do to protect myself? – Leroy
It may sound trite, but the key is being prepared from the beginning. Line up your team. Interview and investigate before selecting your real estate agent, mortgage lender, home inspector and closing attorney. Check the Internet for reviews of your providers and call them to ask about their services and prices.
Once you find a house, have your attorney review the contract to make sure you are protected. Ask questions about anything you don’t understand. Getting the contract right at the start is one of the most important steps in a successful closing. Mark all the key dates on your calendar, such as the inspection and mortgage financing deadlines. Get your home inspection as quickly as possible and follow up with the inspector. Stay in contact with your loan officer and make sure to immediately provide any additional documents that are requested.