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Legal Concerns When Buying a Home in Georgia

Buying a new home is more than just a major purchase. It's a major life event. The process can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. Knowing what to expect and which laws apply to you as you venture into the home-buying experience can ease your anxiety so you enjoy the milestone. Legal considerations apply across the board for buying a home, but each state has some specific rules too. Homebuyers in Georgia should keep some specific considerations in mind.

Working With a Real Estate Agent

Real estate transactions are complex. Partnering with someone who handles them day in and day out can offer a lot of benefits. Agents work on all sides of a transaction: for the seller, the buyer, or sometimes both, although experts often caution against dual representation. If you’re looking for a real estate agent in Georgia, you may want to start with a professional organization such as the Georgia Association of REALTORS.

Property Disclosure

By law, sellers must disclose a property's known defects, such as concerns with structural elements, roofing, occupancy, plumbing and sewerage, electrical systems, and the like. Such disclosures are typically documented in a form, which asks specific questions about the dwelling.

Purchasing Agreements

All the terms of a sale, including details about the property, seller and buyer, price, and other information are outlined in the purchasing agreement. This is a legally binding contract. It should include provisions for inspections and other issues that may need to be addressed before the sale is final.

Inspections

A licensed inspector can appraise the property for any defects that might have been overlooked by the seller. There may also be the beginnings of issues that have the potential to become big problems in the future. If any defects are found, the next step is usually to negotiate them with the seller.

Legal Title Issues

Your title company or real estate attorney will conduct a search of public records to uncover any issues that might prevent the title from transferring owners. Liens and easement issues are the most common things that arise during title searches. Title insurance protects you against any losses that might occur later due to issues that are missed during this search.

Buying Foreclosure Property

Some states offer a redemption period during which the previous owner, the one who was foreclosed upon, can reclaim the property even after it has been sold, if he or she is able to come up with the money to repay the debt. Georgia is not one of these states.

Contacting a Residential Real Estate Attorney

For legal advice regarding the home buying process, please contact a real estate attorney.

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