Legal Issues to Look Out For If You Are a Home Buyer
Typically, your realtor will present a written offer to the seller in the form of a sales contract. A “standard” contract contains a five day attorney review period within which you have the right to review the contract with your attorney. That period starts to run as soon as the seller signs the contract, so it is important to have an attorney on board in advance, or as soon as possible so you can take full advantage of that review period.
Homeowners Association Records
If the home is in a homeowner’s association, the prospective buyer can uncover valuable information about potential security issues, nuisances, or disturbances in the neighborhood by reviewing the association’s monthly board meeting minutes. If the association has significant legal bills or security service bills, it could be a warning about possible headaches down the road. If necessary, your attorney can request these records if they are available.
Health and Safety Issues
In even a basic residential property sale, the seller is required to make disclosures about the presence lead paint, radon, and mold at the property. Although these disclosures are often glossed over as “boilerplate” provisions, they should be carefully scrutinized by your attorney, as the presence of these substances pose potentially serious health hazards for you and your family.
How Much Will Property Taxes Be?
Never trust the property tax amount shown in the listing. These numbers are often based on outdated information, or on exemptions that may not apply to you. For example, if the seller is a senior citizen, they may be receiving a “senior freeze” that won’t apply if you are a younger person.
Easements are Not So Easy
You are entitled to a land survey before closing, and this important document should not be glossed over. It gives important information about any easements on your property—a legal right for others to use part of your property for a specific purpose, such as to gain access to a road. You don’t want to find out later that your neighbors have a right to cross your backyard on their bikes to get to the park!
These are only a few of the many issues that a buyer might need to investigate before closing on a home. A skilled attorney can help you navigate this often complex process.
If you are seeking representation for an upcoming home purchase, contact Evan now.
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