The process of buying a home has become increasingly complex. Retaining an experienced real estate attorney from the beginning is one option you might consider to ensure that you avoid costly mistakes throughout the process, however, be prepared to pay extra. (See last paragraph!)
If you do not know an experienced real estate attorney, you should ask friends or colleagues to recommend one with whom they have had experience with. You can also contact your local bar association and ask for the names of several real estate attorneys in your area.
When you contact an attorney, be sure to inquire about the fee arrangement and ask questions about that attorney's experience in handling real estate matters. Your real estate attorney will be the glue that holds the complex process together. Among other things, your attorney will:
Give you an overview of the process and his or her role in that process draft, review, explain and/or negotiate your contract to purchase.
Discuss timing and possession issues, including matters relating to your current lease if you are renting
Communicate and negotiate repair issues related by your home inspector
Examine the title commitment and survey to determine that you are purchasing the property contracted for, without encumbrances or title defects you have not agreed to accept
Explain contract contingencies, if any, and monitor deadlines to make sure that those contingencies are met
Verify and explain tax prorations and other closing figures
Attend the closing to ensure compliance with the contract and to review the loan document form compliance with your loan agreement
Much of your attorney's work will be behind the scenes, making numerous telephone calls -- to the sellers' attorney, as well as the other members of your team - to ensure that all the wheels are turning to move your purchase forward.
Also of consideration is the fact that no attorney is going to do all of this for free. You will pay a fee for these services. Check with your "Exclusive Buyer's Broker" to see if they don't already do a lot of this footwork for you for the fee they're already earning!