Deciding to buy a home is the largest investment most people make in their lifetime. Unfortunately, many homebuyers do not understand the terms of the paperwork they sign in the process. If homebuyers aren’t savvy, they can end up among those facing legal disputes over home purchases. Here are 3 ways to protect yourself from common pitfalls:
- Don’t Take Your Purchase Offer Lightly.
When you submit an offer on a home, you are agreeing to enter into a legally binding contract (if the seller accepts). While there may be contingencies that allow you to terminate the contract, once signed, it can be difficult and expensive to get out of.
A real estate agent can help you fill out a standard offer contract. It is wise to also have a qualified real estate attorney review the offer before it is submitted. A real estate attorney can advise you on your legal rights and obligations under the purchase offer and help you change the terms to best protect you.
- Take Advantage Of The Inspection Period.
This is one of the most important steps in the transaction. The Inspection period begins as soon as the seller accepts your offer, allowing you a set number of days to complete the inspection and determine whether you will move forward with the home purchase. While a seller must legally disclose any “known defects” to a buyer, in Florida it is the homebuyer’s responsibility to have the home inspected to discover any issues that may be present in the home.
Hire a qualified home inspector. A home inspection may reveal defects that change your decision to purchase the home and save you from costly repairs.
- Don’t Forego Title Insurance.
As part of the real estate transaction, a title agent or real estate attorney will complete a title search to review the “title” to the property that is being purchased. They will ensure that the property is free from encumbrances, liens and defects. The title agent or real estate attorney will then issue a title insurance policy insuring that it will compensate the insured if a defect, lien or encumbrance is uncovered later. Common title issues include unknown liens, deed fraud and boundary disputes. Don’t leave your property at risk, purchase title insurance.
Jennifer R. Bondy
Overstreet, Miles, Cumbie & Finkenbinder P.A.