Purchasing real estate can seem daunting, whether you are a first-time buyer or not. It is always in your best interest to retain an experienced real estate attorney when negotiating a real estate purchase. Because transactions of this kind include thousands of dollars, going in without legal representation could dramatically affect the outcome. The following information regarding the steps of a typical real estate transaction does not constitute legal advice.
The first step of a real estate transaction typically involves the Purchaser making a formal written Offer to Purchase the property. An Offer to Purchase is generally considered a legally binding document and is enforceable against all of the parties. Therefore, one should seek legal advice from an attorney before signing an Offer to Purchase.
The Offer to Purchase, also referred to as a Binder, contains specific terms of sale. The terms should include the property address, the purchase price, the deposit amounts, the closing date, the mortgage amount and a mortgage contingency date which is the date by which the Purchaser must inform the Seller that his or her financing arrangements have been secured.
The Offer to Purchase should include an inspection contingency date. This date is the deadline for letting the Seller know the Purchaser is satisfied with the condition of the property. A Purchaser should always hire a general home inspector who will analyze the condition of all systems and appliances in the property.
It is also judicious to have the property assessed to determine potential issues, such as:
- existence of radon
- termites or other wood-destroying insects
- any potentially buried or abandoned oil tanks
- the presence of lead paint, asbestos, mold, etc.
If the inspection process uncovers any problem areas, the purchase price can be renegotiated. Likewise, the Seller and Purchaser can agree that the Seller shall correct the deficient items before the transfer of the property to the Purchaser.
In Connecticut, most Sellers are required to complete a Property Condition Disclosure Form. This form purportedly provides the Purchaser with information regarding any potential problems or issues of which Seller has knowledge. The general rule of thumb is that while the Purchaser can and should rely on those statements, a thorough investigation of the property by an experienced home inspector is always a good practice.
Please feel free to contact us for advice on all aspects of the real estate transaction process and the refinancing of existing mortgage loans. We offer a free initial consultation. We are available to provide competent, efficient representation for all of your real estate transaction needs.