Residential Real Estate Lawyer – Do You Really Need One?

Some states require lawyers to participate in residential real estate transactions, especially at closing or settlement. Notice how I said, “some states require…’” not simply that you need a real estate lawyer. The majority of states are known affectionately (by real estate lawyers) as, “non-attorney” states. In those states, conducting real estate closings is not considered the practice of law, so you are not required to have a real estate lawyer. The rest of the country resides in either, “attorney” states or states that have mandated the participation of real estate lawyers either for the entire closing or for some parts of the closing. (The parts where you need a real estate lawyer are usually defined by the clear as mud description, “those instances requiring the use of legal discretion and profound legal knowledge.”) Since choosing the right real estate lawyer can save you a lot of aggravation, you want someone who is:Licensed and in good standing. Many states have web sites where you can look to see that the real estate lawyer you are considering is both licensed and in good standing.Experienced. Word of mouth can be the best recommendation. If a friend or relative has been well served and satisfied with a real estate lawyer, chances are you will be also.Real Estate Savvy. This is a specialized area. Just as every midwife might be capable of handling a simple birth, every lawyer might be capable of handling the so-called simple closing, (in California and other “non-attorney” states, people generally do not even use lawyers for residential transactions.) It would be nice, if at the beginning, you could know if yours will be one of those simple transactions. However, since most of us cannot see into the future, if you decide to hire a lawyer, you’ll want one well versed in real estate law and its peculiarities.In your area. It is important that the real estate lawyer you hire be familiar with local rules and ordinances as they can have an enormous impact on how smoothly your deal flows.That you can work with. There is no point in hiring someone you either do not like or do not trust. What good does it do you if you cannot rely on the information she gives you or, just as bad, you cannot stand talking to that person? A real estate transaction is not brain surgery; there are plenty of good real estate lawyers who also have pleasant personalities. You do not want to hire someone that does not play well with others. Your lawyer will be dealing not only with you, but with your buyer. You want someone who will help get the job done while protecting you.How Can You Tell If Your State Is An “Attorney” State?The easiest way is to log onto a website, such as [http://www.legalwiz.com/escrow.htm] which has a list. In addition to that, you can call your local bar association, your local title insurer, your local mortgage lender, or your local escrow agent. Using the word “local” is no accident. All real estate is local and all real estate laws are local in the sense of being governed by the state law of the state where the property is located.
If your house is located in an “attorney” state, adding a real estate lawyer to your team is both necessary and prudent. You’re going to have to have one anyway, so you might as well get her or him on the team early.Do I Need A Real Estate Lawyer In A “Non-Attorney” State?If the house you want to sell is in one of the majority “non-lawyer” states, you might need a real estate lawyer at some point if things get complicated, but there is no rush. In “non-attorney” states, closings usually take place through escrow. Although the escrow agent does not represent you, they are usually very knowledgeable and they are obligated to follow the directions you outlined when the escrow was set up.If you do hire a real estate lawyer, she can be your second most valuable player. From advising you on such matters as the contract, disclosures, title, inspection issues, to holding the earnest money and handling the closing.REMEMBER: Even in “attorney” states, real estate lawyers are not deal makers. Their job is to make sure the contract is properly executed. They may or may not be involved in the actual negotiations.TIP: In some areas, real estate lawyers make a large chunk of their money from the title company they work with. As the seller, it will be your responsibility to bring down title. Therefore, working with an real estate lawyer who has a relationship with a title company, could be to your benefit.© 2007 Complete Books Publishing, Inc.

Using Social Networking to Grow Your Real Estate Investing Business For Free – 10 Quick Tips

If you’re not leveraging the internet to grow your real estate investing business, you’re really missing out. There is a lot you can do in the internet marketing space, but this article specifically discusses how to leverage social networking for real estate investing. Many social networking applications enjoy widespread use and best of all, they are free!  Below are 10 quick tips on how you can use popular social networking tools.Twitter:(1) Use Twellow to identify real estate investors in your local areas and follow each one of  them. This tool is like the Twitter Yellow Pages and categorizes Twitter users by industry. You can quickly do a search on the Real Estate category and put the name of your city in the search box.  You’ll find a lot of people I’m sure! Also, a new feature called Twellowhood also allows you to find people based on location so check that out as well.(2) Use a free tool such as TweetLater to set up automatic direct message responses to all of your followers that includes a URL to your website or squeeze page.  (On a related note, be sure to turn off all email notifications on your Twitter account…unless you actually want your email inbox to be completely swamped!)(3) If you’re a wholesaler, tweet about any real estate deals you’re looking to sell. Be sure to include a link to more information on the property.  I suggest using bit.ly a simple to use URL shortener because tweets can only be 140 characters long and URLs can be quite lengthy. Bit.ly is also great because it provides real time click tracking.(4) Be sure to retweet “RT” other investors tweets that have useful information…this helps you build trust and credibility and will grow your followers. Here’s how it works…let’s say a local investor @BobLocalREI has a great tweet that says “Great article about how to profit with real estate in declining market “  To retweet this, you would simply tweet the following: “RT @BobLocalREI Great article about how to profit with real estate in declining market .”Facebook:(5) Join existing Facebook groups with real estate investors from your local area. You can do this by clicking on “Groups” and then searching groups for terms such as “Chicago real estate investors”,”Boston foreclosure investors”, or “Orange county real estate investors”  Be sure to introduce yourself to the group and post your offerings on the group’s public wall.(6) Create your own Facebook group for real estate investors in your local area. Invite the members of the other groups to join your group. Encourage other wholesalers to join as well and post their deals to the group as well. Don’t make it a private group – make it open to all. This will create an excellent buyers list for you and will also connect you to other investors you can do joint ventures with.(7) Add a form to your Facebook profile that allows people to opt-in to your newsletter that provides tips, news, and details of your wholesale/retail deals. There’s a great blog post from Return on Subscriber that walks you through how to add the form.(8) Use the “update status” feature on Facebook. Your status can be about the everyday happenings with your real estate investing, it can mention a specific deal, it can be whatever you want.  Also there are multiple tools that will integrate your Twitter and Facebook accounts which is a major time saver for those using both applications.YouTube.com and other Social networking video sites:(9) Search engines love video! Create videos with useful “How to” tips or information that is relevant to real estate investing (could be focused on buyers, sellers, or both).  Consider using the Annotations feature within your videos in order to highlight important points in your video.  With Annotations you can make thought bubbles, text in boxes, or links to other videos (but not to external websites).Be sure that your video title and description are very well written and full of keywords that will help people find your videos. Before you get started, think about who your target audience is and make a list of a few real estate investing related topics that you can create videos for.(10) Duplicating your video content is ok!  You can post the same exact video in multiple content sharing sites (use TubeMogul for free!) and get maximum exposure from the search engines.One last bonus tip for social networking….(Bonus) Social networking is all about community…and you should focus on giving 80% of the time. Give useful information when you comment – for example – on others’ Facebook status or YouTube videos. Create value for others and you will bring a ton of attention on your own offerings.