A home is the arguably the biggest asset you’ll ever own. This is often repeated but never fully appreciated. Many new homebuyers continue to approach the home-buying process casually and end up making catastrophic mistakes. Being a fairly complex process, you need all the help you can get to make sure everything goes smoothly and you are not liable to legal challenges after you’ve closed the deal.
Here are 5 tips that may keep you from falling into legal pitfalls.
1. Hire an actual Real Estate Attorney
Don’t hire just any attorney, hire a real estate attorney who understands the industry inside-out. Many new homebuyers just contact any lawyer they know, failing to realize that different lawyers are specialized in different aspects of the law.
The home-buying process is laden with many potential pitfalls. You need an experienced lawyer who deeply understands the real estate law and deals with real estate matters frequently. Only such a lawyer is sufficiently prepared to tackle any issues that might arise.
If you need any legal assistance from an experienced real estate attorney as you mull over purchasing a home, visit the Law Offices of Roger W. Stelk for affordable services.
2. Get legal advice before signing any documents
There is nothing really much that a real estate attorney can do once you’ve signed any paperwork. Unfortunately, that’s when many homebuyers see the need to phone up a lawyer, especially in states where the physical presence of an attorney is not required to close a deal.
If you are not confident that you can go on with the deal without some counsel, always contact an attorney before committing to anything. Yes, real estate lawyers can be expensive. However, the cost of hiring a lawyer pales in comparison to what you stand to lose if the deal goes wrong.
3. Read and understand the purchase agreement
Once you’ve signed on the dotted line of a purchase agreement, there is no backing out. Therefore, you may want to make sure that you understand what you are committing to. Read the purchase agreement from the beginning to the end. Make sure that it spells out everything as you agreed and nothing important is left out. If any changes need to be made, they should be made before you sign it.
4. Buy title insurance
The role of a title insurance is to protect you as the new homeowner from any unforeseeable legal challenges to the ownership of the property. You may be wondering, what could possibly go wrong after a thorough title search? As experience has shown, a title search may not reveal everything.
For instance, there have been cases where sellers hired people to impersonate their estranged spouses in the transaction only for the real spouses to appear after the transaction has been finalized and stake claims to the property. When you buy title insurance, you only pay a one-time premium to an insurance company which in turn steps in in such situation to cover you.
And there is a difference between a lender’s title policy and an owner’s title policy. If you are taking out a loan to finance the purchase, the lender will require you to take the former to cover them. However, you also need an owner’s policy to protect yourself.
5. Make sure all everything is in writing
Only what’s on paper is legally binding. Therefore, always insist that every agreement is put down on paper, no matter how trivial it may seem. For instance, if there are a few repairs in the home that need to be made before you move in, don’t take the seller’s words for it. Make sure they commit to it.
You’ll find these tips crucial as you prepare to buy your new home.