When you’re buying or selling a home, there are many important legal issues, large and small, that you should be aware of. To begin with, residential real estate is not an uncomplicated process. When such a major investment is transferred from one party to another, even the subtle legal details need to be taken care of. If not they can turn into major problems if not handled correctly. It is essential to be as informed as possible in order to properly protect yourself in the process of buying or selling a home.
There are several issues that will certainly cost you if you are not properly informed. In this report, we identify 3 of the most common of these issues. Because there are many legal issues to consider, your first step is to consider choosing reputable and experienced professionals to represent your interests.
When selecting your real estate agent, ensure you find someone who has extensive experience with the process. They should also refer you to a local real estate lawyer who can ensure your interests are protected.
3 legal clauses that can work to your disadvantage if not worded correctly:
- Survey Clause
Homebuyers have the right to have a survey clause added to the real estate contract on the home they wish to purchase. When this home is yours, you should be aware of the implications of this clause.
Your current survey may no longer be up-to-date if you have had a swimming pool built, or an addition added since the survey was drawn up. If your survey is not up-to-date by these standards, the buyer may request an updated survey. The homeseller may be required to bear the cost to have a new survey prepared. The cost for this process typically runs anywhere from $700 to $1,000. This is $700-$1,000 less than you will net for your home.
An experienced real estate agent should provide you with a survey and it is up to the buyer to decide if the survey is acceptable. Your agent should be able to advise you appropriately when dealing with this issue, but if you or your agent are unsure, you have the right to consult your lawyer before you sign the offer. Don’t be afraid to take this important step, as thousands of dollars could be riding on the decisions you make at this point.
Some real estate transactions have fallen through because of the wording of the inspection clause. This clause previously stated that the buyer has the right to rescind their offer if they were dissatisfied with the outcome of a home inspection. In some cases, this was used
unfairly against the seller when a minor repair issue would give a buyer a legal loophole to their change of heart.
Meanwhile, the seller lost both time and money because of this technicality. First, they may have declined other offers (offers which may now be lost forever) in favor of the one which has now fallen through, and missed the opportunity for other offers which might have come through during the current negotiations. Secondly, their home may have been unfairly labeled as a “problem house” which could cost them in terms of the dollar amount of subsequent offers. And thirdly, they then found themselves back on the market, incurring the inconvenience and additional carrying costs of having to market their property for a longer period of time.
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