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Purchase and Sale of Residence Lawyers

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Purchase and Sale of Residence

Buying or selling a home is likely one of the most important financial decisions you will make. There is nothing in the law that prevents you from buying or selling your residence on your own. However, most sellers and buyers employ the services of real estate brokers and lawyers to help them navigate through the complex, and frequently confusing, world of real estate transactions.

Who Are Real Estate Brokers?

A real estate broker is a person who helps you buy or sell your home. Both a buyer and seller of residential real estate can benefit from a broker. Examples of how having a broker can be beneficial include:

  • Access To Multiple Listing Service: Many brokers are members of a multiple listing service (MLS). Brokers subscribing to a MLS share their exclusive listing agreements with other broker in order to expose your home to more sellers.
  • Working For You: The broker you hire is your agent. This means that the broker owes you certain duties, such as loyalty, care, and diligence.
  • Professional Level of Assistance: Brokers are required to be licensed in order to sell your home. Thus, they have received specialized education and training to help you sell or buy your home.

What Is a Listing Agreement?

A listing agreement is a contract between you and the broker that creates the obligations and rights of the business arrangement. It is wise to consult with an attorney before signing any legal document or contract. in order to make sure that your interests are represented and protected. The listing agreement usually provides:

  • How much commission the broker expects and when the broker will receive it
  • The length of the business arrangement
  • The length of time that the house will be listed

Disclosures About the Property

The seller is usually required to make specific disclosures about the property to potential buyers. These include:

  • Material Defects Within the Seller's Knowledge:  Many states require a seller who knows of a problem with the property to disclose the existence of problem to the buyer.
  • Actively Concealed Material Defects: Generally, a seller cannot actively hide a defect with the property in order to attract a buyer to the property.
  • Buyer's Duty to Inspect: Most states hold that the seller does not have an obligation to inspect the property before the deed is transferred. Thus, the buyer should hire someone to inspect the property for any defects that are not easily noticeable before the seller transfers the deed to them.
    • Inspection Contingency: The buyer can place a clause in the purchase contract stating that the sale is contingent on the completion of a property inspection by a qualified engineer or construction expert at the buyer's expense.

Encumbrances on the Property

An encumbrance on the property is something that may prevent a buyer from taking the legal title or possession of the property. They can include easements, encroachments, and other kinds of boundary and title disputes. Most encumbrances are recorded at the county recorder's office.

Mortgages and Liens

Sometimes, a piece of property can be sold subject to a mortgage or other financial lien. A buyer can check whether a piece of property has a lien or mortgage by doing a title search through the county recorder's office. If you do not want to check yourself, a title insurance company can check for you and inform you of any such encumbrances on the property.

A buyer may not have enough cash up front to pay the entire purchase price for a piece of property. In this type of situation, a financial institution may be able to lend the buyer the purchase money in exchange for attaching a mortgage to the property.

Do I Need a Real Estate Attorney if I Want to Buy or Sell a House?

A real estate attorney can guide you through the process and help you negotiate a deal that is right for you. An attorney will also review listing agreements with brokers, offers, and purchase contracts before you sign them to make certain that your requests are met. Finally, a real estate attorney can advise you on financing the house of your dreams.

Vea esta página en español: Compra y Venta de la Residencia o visita para más información legal.

Photo of page author Kristen Johnson

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 04-02-2018 07:21 PM PDT

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