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Ok, so an attorney would be the first person to talk to.

Before I talked to the attorney, I'd probably talk to the real estate agent or development company handling the property and try to get a copy of the Covenants and Restrictions, as well as any other information you can get. I probably wouldn't talk to an attorney until I'd done all the research and was ready to buy. At that point, an attorney would serve as a last check. If you check with the attorney first, then he can't give you very specific advice.

How would you recommend finding one? I know the Austin Bar Association has attorneys they set you up with for only a $20 donation to the Bar. Should I start there?

I probably would not start with the bar. You could start here:

I'd find some candidates on martindale, then look at their websites, if they have any. Then I'd do some phone research with their secretaries. I'd be specifically looking for an attorney who does a fair amount of real estate investing himself.

The way people typically recommend that you find an attorney is to ask friends to recommend them. I find that most friends are not competent to judge lawyers very well. So I ask other professionals or lawyers I think are competent (in that city) that have some other specialty. For example, if you need a bankruptcy, estate, or tax attorney, ask an excellent accountant. If you have dealt with an attorney in the Austin area that you think is excellent, ask him to recommend a real estate attorney.

That's two ways to get started. Another way would be to talk to a seasoned real estate agent in Austin not associated with the development for the name of a lawyer they would recommend. They are mostly going to recommend the ones they use for closings, which is not really what you want. So again, I'd try to find a real estate agent who invests in real estate themselves.

I don't know if that helps, but maybe it's a place to start.

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