Buying a home is more than just a major purchase, it is a life event. While it certainly is exciting, the process is full of minute details that can have big legal impacts. Knowing how the home buying process works in your state can help ease your stress, so you can enjoy this milestone. Buyers in Oklahoma should bear in mind these guidelines.
A Buyer's Real Estate Agent
Real estate agents can work on either side of a sale, representing the buyer, the seller, or in some cases both, though it's usually best for buyers to partner with their own agents. Remember, your real estate agent is more than just a salesperson. Your agent sees the sale through to closing, staying on top of process steps and negotiating solely on your behalf. To find an agent, try connecting through a professional organization such as the Oklahoma Association of REALTORS®.
Understanding Property Disclosure
Sellers must let prospective buyers know if the property has certain known defects. In Oklahoma, there is an official Residential Property Condition Disclosure form for this very purpose. It includes sections for:
- Appliances, systems, and services
- Zoning, flood, and water
- Additions, alterations, and repair
- Property shared in common, easements, homeowner's association, and other legal issues
Your Purchase Agreement
Once an offer is made and accepted, the terms of the sale are outlined in a legally binding contract known as the purchase agreement. The Oklahoma Real Estate Commission offers a Residential Contract of Sale of Real Estate form. It includes a provision allowing the buyer to obtain a home inspection before the sale is final.
Getting a Home Inspection
A licensed home inspector is trained to appraise a property for defects or issues that may not yet be serious but could soon become problems. Even though the seller is required to disclose known defects, in many cases there are also unknown ones, so this is an important step.
The Purpose of a Title Search
Sometimes there are issues attached to the title or property deed that may prevent it from legally transferring clear title from one party to another. Your lawyer or a title company will research public records to ensure the sale can go through. Title insurance covers any future losses incurred due to issues this search may overlook.
Buying Foreclosure Property
Before a foreclosure property can be sold in Oklahoma, notice must be published weekly in a local newspaper, beginning at least 30 days prior to the sale. The property is sold at public auction. While there is no official redemption period, it takes about 15 days for a foreclosure sale to be confirmed. The prior owner has until that confirmation to make good on the debt and reclaim the property.
Seek Legal Advice
As state-specific residential real estate laws can be complicated, and each transaction is unique, you should contact a local real estate lawyer for advice.