A first-time home buyer is anyone who is buying a residential home without having a history of any other home purchases.  Purchasing a home for the first time can be an exciting event, but it should also be done with some caution.  Often times, first-time home buyers lack the experience in dealing with sellers and negotiating for a good price. 

As such, first-time home buyers should be aware of the various rights that they have as consumers.  For instance, they should understand that full disclosure of defects is often times not physically possible.  In fact, many jurisdictions don’t require full disclosure of defects.  Instead, it’s usually up to the buyer to do their research and hire an appraiser to determine the home’s value.

What are Some Tips For First Time Home Buyers?

First-time home buyers can protect themselves legally by applying some of the following tips:

  • Beware of fraud:  Many mortgage fraud schemes are aimed at first-time buyers who have good credit and are willing to take out a loan.  You should only work with qualified mortgage experts and real estate brokers.
  • Get your contract reviewed:  Every home purchase transaction needs to be done through a written sales contract.  You may want to hire a lawyer to have your contract both drafted and reviewed for accuracy/fairness.
  • Appraisal may be necessary:  As mentioned, some states have some pretty lax requirements when it comes to disclosure of property flaws.  You may need to hire an expert to get a good estimate of the home’s value, especially if the home is not new.
  • Consider the marriage laws:  Different states may have different laws when it comes to the division of real property in instances of legal separation or divorce.  This is something to think about for joint purchasers of property.
  • Hire a lawyer:  As a first-time home buyer, you may need the assistance of a lawyer during the negotiation and wrap-up stages of the buying process.

Lastly, it also helps to speak with the neighbors and law enforcement in the area that you’re considering.  This can help you get a feel for the area and can help reveal information that might not be known to the seller.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With a First-Time Home Purchase?

First-time home buyers can sometimes encounter unique factors during a home sales transaction.  You may need to hire a qualified real estate attorney in your area if you will be buying a home for the first time.  Your lawyer can help you review the various legal documents connected with the transaction.  Also, if you have any legal issues or disputes, your lawyer can be on hand to help you file a lawsuit if necessary.