Whether you're venturing into the real estate market for the first time or shopping around for investment property, buying a home is a big deal, one that comes with a lot of tiny details that can have big legal impacts. Knowing how residential real estate transactions work in your state can go a long way toward easing your stress so you can enjoy the excitement of this milestone.
Real Estate Agent's Role
Real estate transactions are complex. Real estate agents see the process through from start to closing, ensuring that no documentation or steps are overlooked and negotiating on your behalf. Although real estate agents can represent both the seller and the buyer, it's generally best for buyers to have their own agents. A great starting point for finding a real estate agent is a professional organization such as the Delaware Association of REALTORS.
About Property Disclosure
Sellers are required by law to disclose a property's known defects to prospective buyers before a sale. The state of Delaware provides a form for this purpose. It includes sections for structural, plumbing, termite, environmental, roofing, heating and air conditioning issues, and others.
About Purchasing Agreements
If you decide to move forward with buying a property, the details of the sale are outlined in a purchasing agreement. This legally binding document includes specific information about the property, the price and terms of the sale, and details about the buyer, seller and respective agents. It should also allow for inspections.
Although a seller is legally bound to disclose known defects of a property, significant ones are often overlooked. This is why it's so important to get the property checked out by a licensed inspector. An inspector will perform a visual appraisal of the dwelling for current or potential future problems that might need to be addressed. With this information in hand, you can negotiate how to address the issues before closing.
About Legal Titles
As part of the home-buying process in Delaware, your real estate attorney or title company will research public records to ensure that the deed to the property is transferable. It's not uncommon for lien or easement issues to arise during a title search. When you buy a property, you purchase title insurance to ensure against any losses related to items that do not show up in the title search.
About Buying Foreclosure Property
Some states offer a redemption period during which the previous owner, the one who was foreclosed upon, can reclaim the property if he or she is able to come up with the money to repay the debt. Delaware is not one of them.
A Real Estate Lawyer Can Help
Residential real estate laws in Delaware are complicated; please contact a Delaware real estate lawyer for legal assistance.