Whether you are venturing into the real estate market for the first time or if you've bought a home before, the purchase of a house or other property is a monumental deal—and one that is fraught with a lot of small details that can have big legal impacts. Those shopping for residential real estate in Utah should bear in mind some key guidelines for buying a home in that state.
Working With a Real Estate Agent
A buyer's agent does more than just show you around properties in your desired locale and price range. He or she represents you through the entire transaction and negotiates on your behalf. While a seller's agent can represent the buyer as well, the seller's agent is contractually bound to forward the seller's best interests, not yours. If you're looking for a real estate agent, a great place to start is through a professional organization such as the Utah Association of REALTORS.
What Must a Seller Disclose?
Property disclosure laws mandate that sellers must make prospective buyers aware of certain known issues that affect a property. These may include structural problems or defects related to the heating, cooling, electrical, plumbing, sewerage or other systems. The goal is to ensure that prospective buyers can make an informed choice before making an offer.
The Real Estate Purchase Contract
Sometimes called a purchasing agreement, the real estate purchase contract is a legally binding document that outlines all of the terms of the sale. It includes a provision for a walk-through inspection of the home before the sale is final.
Your Home Inspection
Properties frequently have defects that were not disclosed, often because the seller was unaware of them. A licensed home inspector can visually appraise the property for any problems or potential issues you may want to negotiate addressing before closing.
Title Search and Title Issues
Before your sale can go through, it's important to ensure that the title is clear of liens or other items that might interfere with its transfer. Your attorney or title company can perform a search of public records to look for such items.
Buying Foreclosure Property
Foreclosure properties are sold at auction in Utah. At least 20 days prior, a notice of the sale must be posted on the property and at the office of the county recorder. Some states allow a redemption period during which the prior owner can still redeem the property by making good on the debt, even after it has been sold at auction to another party. Utah allows the court to decide, but redemption periods are not common.
Using a Residential Real Estate Attorney
Residential real estate laws vary from one state to another and each transaction is unique. If you are venturing into the residential real estate market in Utah, you should consult with an attorney to ensure that all details are tended to appropriately.