Buying a Home in Idaho

Houses are plentiful and interest rates are low, so the American dream is affordable again. When you protect yourself with purchase agreements, inspections and disclosures, you can ensure that your dream lasts for years to come. Idaho law sets out requirements for both buyers and sellers. Get to know this process before beginning your home search.

What an Agent Can Do

Some people can handle a home purchase on their own, but others feel more comfortable with support from an agent. A trained agent can help you find properties, aid in negotiations, and keep paperwork in order. The website of the Idaho Real Estate Commission allows the public to search for licensed professionals.

Disclosure Requirements

Sellers are obligated to reveal problems with their properties. It's illegal to hide major defects, such as flood damage. In Idaho, sellers must provide information about everything from electrical systems to asbestos. Review a sample form to learn what you're entitled to know before you buy a property.

The Sales Agreement

Once you're ready to commit, spell out details such as financing, the closing date and inspection information in a purchase agreement. This contract basically outlines everyone's obligations through the time of closing.


An inspection lets sellers prove the home is safe, and it reveals problems to buyers. Typical inspections include plumbing, heating, air conditioning, the roof and the overall structural integrity of the house. The American Society of Home Inspectors offers tips for hiring a professional.

Do I Need Title Insurance?

The goal of a title search is to make sure the seller owns the property and is free to sell it. An individual can conduct such a search, but the process is complex. Most people prefer help from a real estate attorney or a title company.

Lenders require title insurance, but these policies cover only them. To make sure you're protected as well, purchase your own policy with coverage for the amount of your loan.

Foreclosures and Short Sales

Buyers can sometimes can find bargains in homes in foreclosure or whose owners are in financial trouble. In Idaho, as in most states, foreclosures are sold to the highest bidders at public auctions. Properties are sold “as is,” meaning there's no warranty. If the property includes more than 20 acres, the original owner has up to a year to "redeem" it, or take it back. If it includes less than 20 acres, the redemption period is only six months.

In a short sale, the lender lets the owner sell the home for less than what he owes on the mortgage. Short sale buyers should be aware of possible "hidden" costs, such as back taxes, or unpaid homeowner's association fees.

Contact a Residential Real Estate Attorney

Residential real estate laws in Idaho are complicated, and each transaction is unique. For more specific legal information, please contact an Idaho real estate lawyer.

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