I'm in Alaska.
About a year and a half ago, I moved into the condo I'm in now and bought a 2 yr lease/option to buy for $1K. LL, who is out of state, also had me fill out a credit app and a month-to-month tenancy form that I was told would govern if the lease lapsed. The Lease/Option form was a standard stationary store form that LL had extensively marked up and filled out except for the signature. The option was to buy the place for $1XX K or appraised value, whichever was higher. The option, first mo rent and sec deposit were paid with one check.
I hadn't noticed until the recent deterioration in our relationship, but LL never sent a signed copy of any of the forms back.
Now that we want to exercise our option, LL is effectively telling me that we don't have one. LL's emails aren't very coherent but I'm presuming that this is because LL never sent me back a signed copy. I intend to get a lawyer, but all I know about law and lawyers is what I've gleaned from tv shows.
1) How can I determine whether I'm getting a "good" lawyer?
2) Is it likely that we indeed have neither a lease nor an option to buy?
3) What are the likely implications/ramifications of someone lying and generally showing bad faith in a real estate/tenancy situation?
4) Are there any twists foreseeably skewing the situation because LL is out of state?
5) Is this forum a sort of lawyer's version of the Jerry Springer Show?
Many Thanks In Advance...
I do appreciate the existence of this forum and the many volunteers contributing their advice.