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  4.  » The Weekly Pulse – Top Legal Considerations When Buying a Home

Real Estate purchases are undoubtedly one of the most significant financial decisions a person make in their lifetime. It is of pivotal importance to make sure the process is undertaken properly right from the time you identify your dream property to the moment you are handed the keys. As experts Real Estate attorneys, we understand such an investment can be complex and, as the investor, you should be aware of all the relevant legal considerations. Thus, avoiding mistakes during the buying process and avoiding any unnecessary financial or legal challenges. We understand that effective legal advice, meticulous scrutiny of all relevant documents, and proper verification of funding and property-related information ensures the buyer is making a solid investment and has a fruitful outcome. 

Here are some legal considerations to keep in mind that should simplify the investment purchasing process:

  • Understand the Full Costs
    • In addition to the down payment/ deposit for home, other fees incurred will also include legal fees, record recording fees, title search, title settlement, and insurance which will be required by your mortgage providers to protect against any issues with the property title, among others.
  • Mortgage Pre-Approval
    • A home can be purchased either in cash or through bank financing or via a private lender or investor. If a homebuyer requires financing from a banking institution, it is essential to get a mortgage pre-approval before looking for a home to purchase. A mortgage pre-approval shores up the confidence of the seller and increases the likely of your offer being accepted. To gain mortgage pre-approval you will need to submit proof of income and share some personal information with the lender. The lender will run a credit report then, based on their findings, grant an official letter of preapproved for a specified loan amount and precise time-period.
  • Purchase Offer
    • Once you have found find the house of your dreams the next step is to put in a Home Purchase Offer with the help of your real estate agent. The real estate agent will help you make a sound offer which may be less than what the seller is asking. The Home Purchase offer is a contract which requires the seller’s signature; it is highly encouraged to have an attorney review this document before presenting it to seller. It is customary for a real estate agent to use the standard form approved in your county, but having an attorney approve it prior to submission further ensures that your interest are protected and that the form is properly completed.
  • Home Inspection
    • A home inspection is when you hire a professional to examine the property and ensure there are no issues with the foundation, roofing, termites, water damages to the interior or exterior of the home, etc. A proper home inspection alerts you to any problems or issues that may need repairing/ replacing by the owner or a valid reason to lower your offer price. It’s important that the contract for the house sale includes a provision for you to get a home inspection before the sale or sale price is finalized.
  • Meeting Contingencies
    • Once the home inspection is complete and the contract is final, you’ll need to meet the other contingencies listed in the contract. It is common for prospective home buys to be in the process of selling their existing home in order to move into their new property. In those cases, the biggest contingencies often involve the sale of their current home. When dealing with a competitive home buying market, being in such a position can be considered a strike against you, especially if the seller is considering other offers where the buyer doesn’t have to sell an existing home in order to commit to their purchase.
  • Title Insurance
    • The next item is the purchase of your property title insurance as required by the mortgage company. A title search should be conducted to assess any outstanding mortgages, liens, unpaid license, unpaid HOA dues easements and leases. Title insurance ensures that the title (ownership rights) you receive is valid and free of any claims. It protects you from issues that could occur down the line that could lead to a property dispute.
  • Mortgage closing
    • Once all the contingencies have been met and you’ve provided your mortgage lender with the appropriate documentation, your closing will take place. At this meeting, you’ll close on the home and the mortgage. Your lawyer or real estate agent will accompany you to the closing. At the closing, you’ll sign the legal documents and review all financials in detail.

The above are just some of the legal considerations that will arise when purchasing a home. This doesn’t include all possible legal considerations. To avoid potential disputes from arising, it is best to consult a Real Estate attorney like The Law Offices of Marjory Cajoux. Our firm has over 25 years of experience in handling Estate, Immigration, Personal Injury and Real Estate matters.