Home buying in Virginia

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Legal Concerns for Virginia Home Buyers

If you are venturing into the real estate market in Virginia, it is important to know state-specific rules and guidelines that might affect your purchase. Keeping these points in mind can help ease the process, so you can enjoy your home-buying experience.

The Role of a Real Estate Agent

While you may be able to find a home without the help of a real estate agent, it is important to remember that your agent is more than just a salesperson. He or she represents you through the entire transaction and negotiates on your behalf. A seller’s agent may offer to represent you in addition to representing the buyer, but the seller’s agent is contractually bound to further the seller’s best interests, not yours. A professional association such as the Virginia Association of REALTORS is a great place to start.

What to Know About Property Disclosure

Unlike in most other states, sellers in Virginia are not required to disclose defects about a property. Instead, it is up to the buyer to inspect the condition of the property. The seller must provide a statement alerting the buyer of this. The seller also is not allowed to intentionally mislead or lie when asked about specific defects the buyer may notice.

Understanding The Purchase Agreement

Once an offer is made and terms agreed upon, the details of the sale are outlined in a legally binding contract called the real estate purchase agreement. In addition to information about price, timeline of sale, parties involved and so forth, it includes a provision allowing the buyer to have the property inspected.

Getting a Home Inspection

It is especially important to get a property inspected before the sale is finalized because sellers are not required to disclose defects. A licensed home inspector is specially trained to appraise a property for problems or issues that may soon become problems. If any defects are found, the next step is usually to negotiate addressing them.

Title Search and Title Issues

A crucial administrative step in a real estate transaction is a title search. Your attorney or title company will research public records to make sure there are no liens or other issues attached to the title that might prevent it from transferring. Title insurance protects you from any losses that may occur later on due to any oversights during this process.

Purchasing Foreclosure Property

In Virginia, foreclose properties typically are sold at the local courthouse to the highest bidder. Notice must first be given at least 14 days prior to the debtor who was foreclosed upon. There is no official redemption period, though a lender has the option to cancel a sale if the debtor makes good on the debt.

Getting Help from a Lawyer

Residential real estate laws vary from one state to the next, and small oversights can have big impacts. To make sure your home buying experience goes as smoothly as possible, you should seek legal advice from a Virginia real estate lawyer.

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