Buying a home is an exciting, if not overwhelming experience. Before you get your new keys in hand, you want to be sure no important details are overlooked. And there are many legal details to tend to. Knowing what to expect when buying a home in your state can help ease the process. Certain legal issues vary by state, so Maryland home buyers should bear in mind some key considerations for buying residential property.
How a Real Estate Agent Can Help
We often think of real estate agents as the people who show properties and conduct open houses, but your agent is more than just a salesperson. Agents represent you in the entire transaction, seeing it through from start to finish. An agent can work either side of the sale, representing the buyer, the seller, or in some cases, both, though dual agency can be tricky. If you're considering a real estate purchase, it's wise to find a buyer's agent to represent you. A good place to start is with a professional organization such as the Maryland Association of REALTORS®.
Required Property Disclosures
Sellers are required by law to disclose certain known defects about a property. The Maryland Real Estate Commission provides a form for this very purpose. It asks specific questions about a dwelling's structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and sewer systems, heating and air conditioning, roofing, and other issues.
Your Purchasing Agreement
Of all the paperwork you'll encounter during a real estate transaction, the purchasing agreement is likely the most comprehensive. It includes all of the terms and conditions of the sale, including details about the property, the price, and more. It should also allow for an inspection, upon which the sale may be pending.
Why You Need a Home Inspection
Even though the seller is required to disclose known defects of a property, there often are unknown issues. A licensed inspector is trained to visually appraise a dwelling for certain defects that may be causing current problems or that could have the potential to become serious in the future.
Legal Title Basics
Before property can change ownership, a title company or real estate lawyer must conduct a search of public records to make sure there are no issues preventing the title from transferring. Lien and easement problems are commonly revealed during such searches. Title insurance protects you from any losses that may incur due to items that are not found during the title search.
Buying Foreclosure Property
Some states offer a right-to-redemption period after the sale during which the previous owner has the option to make good on the debt and reclaim the property. Maryland does not have a standard redemption period, but the courts can offer one on a case-by-case basis.
Work with a Real Estate Attorney
For more legal information regarding your home-buying experience, please contact a Maryland real estate lawyer.