In a home sales transaction the buyer has certain rights as defined by state and federal laws. These can vary depending on certain factors, but for the most part, these rights may include:
- Right to be free from housing discrimination during the process (this is governed mainly by the Fair Housing Act)
- Rights to be informed of any encumbrances on the title (such as a lien, easement, and other issues)
- Rights to disclosure of defects or safety dangers such as waste management, water supply, insulation, hazardous materials (such as lead paint) and other issues
- Right to choose or refuse a lender or mortgage provider
- Rights to know about property taxes affecting the property, including from previous years
- Rights regarding homeowner’s insurance, title insurance, and other forms of insurance
- Rights to have the property appraised in a neutral and fair manner
- Rights to obtain a market price analysis and comparison with other similar properties
- Rights to obtain a copy of a the Purchase and Sales Agreement before closing
- Rights to a walk-through of the property before closing
- Rights to review the Settlement Statement at closing
Violation of a home buyer’s rights can lead to various legal consequences, including those related to: a breach of contract; real estate or broker liability; home seller liability, and other issues. In most cases, a damages award may be issued by the court in order to compensate the buyer for their losses.
For instance, if a failure to disclose a defect with the home causes the buyer to lose money on the deal, a lawsuit may result in a damages award to correct the losses. Buyer’s rights violations can also sometimes lead to other forms of liability (such as criminal liability in a fraud case).
Home buyers are definitely entitled to certain rights when it comes to a home sales transaction. It may be in your best interests to hire a real estate attorney if you need assistance with any types of home buyer issues. Your lawyer can provide you with legal advice and guidance during the sales process. Also, in the event of a legal dispute or conflict, your lawyer can represent you and help you file a lawsuit with the court if needed.