Top 10 Legal Considerations Florida Home Buyers Need to Consider
Buying a home is likely the largest investment you’ll make. It simply doesn’t make sense to do it on your own when many things can go wrong. Just one mistake can cost you a fortune. Florida home buyers should consult with an experienced real estate lawyer before they sign an agreement of sale.
These days, buyers will look for a home in one of several ways. Many homebuyers will work with a broker. Many others will research a new home online. Some homebuyers are aware of homes through friends or contacts.
Some of the many legal risks are involved in these stages of the Real Estate Transaction:
1. The initial offer for Florida home buyers
It’s wise to speak with a lawyer about the amount you should offer for the home. Many homeowners don’t know what the house they are buying is worth. An experienced lawyer will work with appraisers and other professionals to determine the proper value of the property.
2. Reviewing the agreement of sale
The lawyer will first advise you that you should have the home inspected before you sign the agreement of sale. You need to know from the start if the home you’re buying for you and your family has any hidden structural defects. The lawyer will request that the seller disclose all the known defects, claims, and adverse interests that the seller is aware of before you sign the agreement of sale. He will also seek to include provisions on the contract to address your right to inspect the property before settlement and to address any problems with the home that may arise after an inspection or after you move into your home.
The attorney will also review the mortgage approval contingency process so that you get your deposit back if you can’t be approved a mortgage.
The attorney will also explain all the additional expenses such as title insurance, property taxes, and recording fees that Florida home buyers need to pay in addition to the sales price.
3. The mortgage approval process for Florida home buyers
Experienced Sebastian and Vero Beach lawyers will explain that these days, you should speak with a qualified mortgage company or a bank to see how much of a mortgage you can be pre-approved for – based on your combined family income, your expenses, and any debt obligations such as car payments that you have. The mortgage company or bank will review your credit history and how much you can pay as a down payment to tell you how much of a mortgage you can be preapproved for.
If you don’t go through the mortgage preapproval process, then your lawyer will need to review the agreement of sale to provide for a reasonable amount of time to seek approval of a mortgage.
4. The home inspection process
Homeowners should inspect the property before the agreement of sale is signed or the agreement of sale should allow the buyer time to make an inspection – and the agreement should allow the buyer to withdraw the purchase offer if the inspection shows there are problems with the home. Experienced lawyers can recommend qualified inspectors who will examine the structure of the house, the plumbing, electricity, heating and air-conditioning, termites, and other issues including the inside and exterior of the house, the parking lots, sidewalks, and landscaping.
5. Coordinating your existing home sale with the new purchase
If you need the cash from the sale of your current home to fund the purchase of the new home, an experienced lawyer will explain your options. Some homeowners sell their existing home first and complete the settlement before making an offer on a new home. A lawyer will work to help you coordinate the sale of your home and the purchase of your new home.
6. Title insurance
Every buyer should purchase title insurance. Title insurance helps insure your home against claims by creditors of the sellers, claims by utilities as to how and when they can access your property, claims by other purchasers that they have the right to the home, and a range of other legal issues.
7. The mortgage closing
A skilled lawyer works with your mortgage company and the title company to ensure that your mortgage papers and funds are ready the date that you have your closing/settlement.
8. The settlement
A skilled lawyer will advise Florida home buyers to make a final inspection before settlement. If repairs that the seller agreed to aren’t finished, then your lawyer will negotiate with the seller (or the seller’s) lawyer to determine when the repairs will be finished and how the seller will pay for them. The lawyer will explain the mountain of paperwork that you will be asked to sign.
9. The settlement sheet
Once the title company finishes their review and any open issues are resolved, all the people who are owed money will be paid. The payments should be reflected on the settlement sheet beginning with the purchase price. Your lawyer will review the property tax and utility payments so that you are only paying for these items as of the date you move in. He’ll also review the payment to any brokers, any mortgage closing costs, and other taxes that are due, the homeowner’s insurance, and all recording fees and other payments
10. Court filings
Your lawyer will work with the title company to see that the deed to your home is properly recorded along with any mortgage. The lawyer will review the deed to make sure it is titled the right way – depending on who the true owners of the home are. He’ll also see that you get the keys to the new home.