Before you sign an agreement of sale, you might consider asking an attorney to look it over and tell you if it protects your interests. If you have already signed your agreement of sale, you might still consider having an attorney review it. An attorney can also help you prepare for the settlement. In some areas attorneys act as settlement/closing agents or as escrow agents to handle the settlement.
An attorney who does this will not solely represent your interests, since, as settlement/closing agent, he or she may also be representing the seller, the lender and others as well.
If choosing an attorney, you should shop around and ask what services will be performed for what fee. Find out whether the attorney is experienced in representing home buyers. You may wish to ask the attorney questions such as:
What is the charge for negotiating the agreement of sale, reviewing documents and giving advice concerning those documents, for being present at the settlement, or for reviewing instructions to the escrow agent or company?
Will the attorney represent anyone other than you in the transaction?
Will the attorney be paid by anyone other than you in the transaction?
Please note, in many areas of the country attorneys are not normally involved in the home sale. For example, escrow agents or escrow companies in western states handle the paperwork to transfer title without any attorney involvement.
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Buying Your Home: Settlement Costs and Helpful Information,
available from the Federal Consumer Information Center Web site.