Buying and owning a home can be one of the biggest responsibilities that a person can take on, and it can be one of the most satisfying experiences in a person’s life. What you may not know is that it can leave you open to certain legal issues that can take a lot of time and effort to resolve.
Real estate law may seem confusing at first, and at times it can be difficult to understand. In reality, it can be very straightforward, but it can still work to your benefit to hire someone to help you sort through all the legalities involved in real estate transactions.
Legalities of Home Ownership
In spite of unusually low interest rates, less than 50% of Americans own a home. It’s hard to say why this is true, but there are plenty of reasons to buy real estate. Owning a home can help you to improve your financial situation because it is a solid asset that can improve your net worth.
In spite of the benefits, it doesn’t come without its risks, as you could be faced with certain legal issues that you must take measures to overcome. That’s why you should hire a qualified real estate attorney that can help you make a sound business decision that will minimize your risk of a lawsuit.
“Lease to Buy” Agreement
If you’re renting a home, you might be able to buy it later on. This can be done with a “lease to buy” agreement, and it can help you to lower the overall cost of purchasing a home. But there are certain legal issues that you have to consider before you go into this type of arrangement.
One major consideration is the fact that it’s not a guarantee that you will be able to purchase the property. The seller can still back out of the agreement; and even if you are given the opportunity to buy the property, your rent may not be included in the down payment.
The law is very specific about any contracts that involve the purchase of real estate. Sellers are allowed to accept more than one offer, but they can only sign one contract. Sometimes a second one can be signed, but it only goes into effect if the first one becomes invalid.
There are a number of reasons why this could happen. The initial buyer can back out, which would automatically nullify the contract, but there may be other reasons as well. A seller, however, can never back out of the original contract, even if he or she signs a second one.
Home inspections are not always required, but it depends on the city in which you live. Still, it’s a good idea to get one. After all, you want to make sure there aren’t any issues with the property before you decide to close, but you also want to make sure the inspector is both qualified and insured.
Even so, the seller is obligated to inform prospective buyers about any issues with the property, and he or she is not allowed to hide them in order to make the sale.
Sellers can’t use any false advertising – whether it’s in online or printed form. They must not lure buyers into purchasing a property that they know have serious issues, and they must fully disclose any information related to its condition. However, you can only take legal action if you have already purchased it.
The Down Payment
While there are exceptions, most people when they buy a home will have to apply for some type of financing, which usually comes in the form of a mortgage that they will have to pay every month for a certain period of time. This means that they would have to find a way to secure a down payment, and that can take time. For this reason, the purchase agreement will have a “contingency clause,” which gives the buyer enough time to secure some type of financing on the property and to come up with a down payment.
A property can have a number of hidden issues, and some of these can include but are not limited to:
- Bad wiring
- Bad plumbing
- Foundation problems
- Roofing issues
Buyers have some legal protection when they purchase these homes, especially if they were found in an inspection. You should make sure you understand your rights in these situations.
Issues in Closing
Even after everything else is in order, problems can still occur during the closing process. The seller could start stalling, and there could be a variety of reasons why. Even so, you still have certain legal rights, and you should make sure you understand them.
You might have found a serious problem that wasn’t found in the inspection when you moved in. If you run into this type of situation, it’s important to understand your rights, and you should find out what sort of legal action you can take to protect yourself.
You could also get a surprise on your first property tax bill, and ignoring it can put you at risk of losing your home. Make sure you understand the penalties for not paying taxes on a property. It’s also important to understand the purpose of deeds and titles, as well as how they are used. Easements can allow someone else to use your property for a specific purpose, and it’s important to understand your rights if you find yourself in that situation.
Using a Real Estate Attorney
A real estate attorney is the best person to help you understand your rights in case you come across any of these common legal issues. He or she can also represent and defend your position if you decide to take legal action against a seller that you believe is liable.
If you want to find out more about how we can help you, get in touch with us today!