Buying a home is certainly an emotional experience. In fact, you may have already fallen in love with a place and dream of living there, perhaps raising your family and certainly making it your own. However, in spite of love and dreams, buying a home is a business transaction, and when mistakes occur during the process, there are often legal ramifications.
If you are eager to make the purchase and start life in your new home, you are certain to become frustrated with the slow progression of a sale, especially if complications arise. To avoid this, you may think purchasing a house for sale by owner will allow you to bypass many of the legal red tape that often stalls a sale. However, this may be the exact time when having a real estate attorney on your side can protect you from negative consequences.
The proof is in the paperwork
One of the most common ways to legally secure a transaction is to sign a contract. Contracts outline the terms you and the seller agree upon during your negotiations. However, how do you know if those terms protect your interests or if the terms are even legal in California?
If the owner of the house is selling without the assistance of a real estate agent, he or she may not have the legal background to write a binding contract. An attorney can provide the assistance to ensure the terms in the contract abide by state law and address any contingencies that will protect your rights. An attorney can also prove invaluable for dealing with the complicated transfers and filings required by law, such as:
- Handling the complex negotiations of contracts that involve an estate trust or multiple parties
- Filing the real estate deed, which must occur at the state and county level
- Dealing with state environmental regulations involving construction on certain properties
- Informing you of your rights to review all contracts, and advising you of any issues that may not be in your best interests.
An attorney can also perform a crucial title search to ensure that no one else has a legal claim on the property you want to purchase. This may include a creditor who has placed a lien on the house, an ex-spouse of the seller or someone besides the seller who may have inherited the house. Your attorney will be able to determine if the seller can legally offer the house for sale. Such an advocate may also be able to negotiate a better deal for you if you face the inconvenience of a lien on the property.
Purchasing a house for sale by owner is risky without professional assistance. While you may worry that involving a legal professional may take the romance from purchasing the home of your dreams, you may soon find that having such help prevents the transaction from becoming a nightmare.