Purchasing a home may be the most significant financial commitment most Alabama residents will make in their lifetimes. Before you purchase a home, take time to examine your finances to determine what you can afford to buy. Reflect on your personal situation to determine what features you want or need in a home. With proper research, preparation, and the help of qualified professionals, buying a home can be a satisfying experience.
Working With a Real Estate Agent
Using a licensed real estate agent to assist you with the purchase of your home provides you with a number of benefits. First, an experienced agent can help you determine what you want in your new home, as well as guide you through the mortgage qualification process. Additionally, your real estate agent will be familiar with local market conditions and can help you negotiate the best price for your new home. Your real estate agent can also provide you with referrals to other professionals, such as home inspectors, mortgage brokers, insurance agents, and real estate attorneys. Real estate agents usually also take care of scheduling showings, inspections, and closings.
A referral from a trusted friend may be the best way to locate and select a real estate agent. If you can't get a personal referral, an internet search is also a good way to locate a real estate agent. Search for agents with experience representing buyers. Carefully check the agent's qualifications, and don't be afraid to ask for references. You can check the license of a real estate agent by visiting the Alabama Real Estate Commission website.
Alabama follows the doctrine of “caveat emptor” or “buyer beware” and doesn't require that sellers make any specific disclosures about the condition of homes. If a real estate agent has knowledge of a defect in the home, the agent has an ethical duty to disclose it. Additionally, a homebuyer should engage the services of a professional home inspector for a thorough inspection of the property before completing the purchase.
Real Estate Contract Requirements
An Alabama real estate contract must be in writing and signed by the parties to the transaction. To be enforceable, the contract must satisfy the basic requirements of including an offer to sell or purchase, an acceptance of the offer, the sale price, and an adequate description of the property.
A buyer should always obtain a title search from a title company before purchasing a home. When performing a title search, the title company reviews available public records to search for any liens, easements, or other encumbrances that may affect the property. If the title search locates any problems, the buyer can require that they're corrected as a condition to closing.
A home buyer should also consider purchasing title insurance to protect against adverse claims by third parties. Mortgage companies usually require buyers to purchase title insurance policies in connection with obtaining a mortgage.
A Real Estate Lawyer Can Help
For more detailed, specific information, please contact an Alabama real estate lawyer.