Buying a house is one of the most significant financial commitments most Arkansas residents will make in their lifetimes. Before you purchase a home, take time to examine your finances to determine what you can afford. Reflect on your personal situation to determine what features you need or want in a home. With proper research, preparation, and the assistance of qualified professionals, buying a home can be a satisfying experience.
Advantages of Using a Real Estate Agent
Using an experienced Arkansas real estate agent to assist you with the purchase of your home provides you with a number of benefits. First, an Arkansas real estate agent can help you determine what you can afford to buy, how large a mortgage you can qualify for, and can locate houses that have the features you desire. Your Arkansas real estate agent will also be familiar with local market conditions and can help you negotiate the best price for your new home. Real estate agents usually also take care of scheduling showings, inspections and closings. Your real estate agent can provide you with referrals to other professionals, such as home inspectors, mortgage brokers, insurance agents, and real estate attorneys.
A referral from a trusted friend may be the best way to locate and select a real estate agent. If you're unable to 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 also check a real estate agent's license by visiting the Arkansas Real Estate Commission website.
Property Condition Disclosure Requirements
Arkansas law doesn't specifically require that sellers make any disclosures about the condition of their homes. However, the seller's real estate agent must "exert reasonable efforts to ascertain those facts which are material to the value or desirability" of the home. For example, if the seller's real estate agent sees a water spot on the ceiling, the agent would be required to disclose this fact to the buyer. Additionally, the Arkansas Realtors Association offers a Seller's Disclosure Form for use by its members, which represent about 70% of the state's real estate agents. Seller disclosures aren't a substitute for a thorough inspection by a competent Arkansas home inspector, however. An inspection offers homebuyers the best protection against unanticipated problems.
An Arkansas 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. There is no specific contract form.
A buyer should always obtain a title search from an Arkansas title company before purchasing a home. When performing a title search, the title company reviews available public records and searches 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 of closing.
An Arkansas homebuyer should also consider purchasing title insurance to protect the title to the property against adverse claims by third parties. Mortgage companies usually require that buyers purchase a title insurance policy in connection with obtaining a mortgage.
Consult a Professional
For legal advice regarding your home buying decision, please contact an Arkansas real estate lawyer.