blog category

Remember These Four Points When Buying a Home

Remember These Four Points When Buying a HomeBuying a home can be a long process. You may look at several houses before finding the right one, and even then there's no guarantee that the seller will accept your offer. In your home-buying journey, you may be able to avoid some of the common pitfalls for buyers by keeping the following four points in mind. 1. Hire your own inspector. If sellers know their home has a latent defect - one the buyer would not be able to detect just by looking – they must disclose this. In Maryland, sellers have the option to complete a disclosure or a disclaimer form. A disclosure form lists everything the seller knows about the property. A disclaimer form, says the seller has no knowledge of the property and is not disclosing any information, however, even with a disclaimer form, a seller must disclose latent defects. Regardless of whether the seller has…

Why Transparency Is Always the Best Policy When Selling a Home

Maryland Investment PropertyReal estate professionals usually recommend that homeowners make some changes before listing their home on the market. At a minimum, it’s wise to update fixtures, repaint the interior, and repair or replace broken appliances. Homeowners don’t have to repair every defect, but failing to disclose major defects that are not visible upon inspection, is illegal. Homeowners must sign either a disclosure or a disclaimer when selling their home. The disclosure informs buyers of known specific items in the property and any known defects; the disclaimer states that the seller is unaware of any defects and is selling the home “as-is.” Buyers may be wary about a home that’s not covered by a disclosure form. Avoiding Common Real Estate Problems Any buyer interested in purchasing a specific home will hire their own inspector to assess the property. Sellers that aren’t aware of their home’s defects may be unpleasantly surprised by the…

The Responsibilities of a Rental Property Owner

Rental PropertyOwning a commercial or residential rental property comes with responsibilities. The most basic responsibility is proper upkeep and maintenance, to ensure the tenants can use the property as intended. Additional responsibilities are defined by federal, state, and local laws. Following is a general overview of landlord responsibilities (landlords may wish to consult an attorney to make sure they’re up to date on specific laws in their city or county). Disclosures Required by Law Buildings constructed before 1978 may contain lead-based paint, which is known to cause serious health problems, especially for children. Federal law requires owners of buildings built before 1978 to give prospective tenants a lead-based paint disclosure before they sign a lease. Maryland’s Reduction of Lead Risk in Housing law also requires property owners to register applicable properties with the state and to have their property inspected for lead prior to every change in occupancy, unless the property has been…

Have You Tested Your Home for Radon? 

Why Transparency Is Always the Best Policy When Selling a HomeRadon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. It’s a natural gas that occurs as radium in soil breaks down, and it can seep into homes and buildings through cracks in the foundation, drains, and other openings. The Environmental Protection Agency says home radon levels should not exceed 4 picocuries per liter. Levels above 4 pCi/L should be professionally treated with a radon mitigation system. For less than $30, you can find radon test kits that detect whether radon is present in your home and, if so, whether its levels pose a threat to your health. Radon Risk in Maryland Generally, in areas where the soil has a higher concentration of radium, radon risk is elevated. But indoor radon concentration can vary considerably from one home to the next. In Maryland, anecdotal data shows that buildings west of Chesapeake Bay have higher concentrations of radon than buildings…

Understanding the Maryland Disclosure/Disclaimer Form

Reviewing NotesIn a previous blog, we wrote about latent defects, and how they apply to buying and selling residential property. When sellers are aware of latent defects (such as termite damage or a sewer line clogged with tree roots), they must disclose those defects on a Maryland Residential Property Disclosure and Disclaimer Form. If a new homeowner discovers a serious defect that wasn’t disclosed before sale, that means either the seller didn’t know of the defect or the seller deliberately misled the buyer about the condition of the property. To determine what actually occurred, the homeowner will likely need the help of an attorney. Disclosure vs. Disclaimer Using the same form, a seller may choose the route of disclosure or disclaimer. A disclaimer means that the seller offers the property “without representations and warranties as to its condition,” so it absolves the seller of responsibility, should a defect be later discovered.…

Transferring Real Estate: Deed Overview

Maryland Deed LawyerIn Maryland, the sale or transfer of property includes the creation of a deed, which is a legal document that defines each party’s rights and responsibilities. Deeds establish a binding agreement, but occasionally new information is discovered after the transfer or sale of property that may compromise the owner’s rights to the property. While it’s possible in many jurisdictions to file your own legal documents, the best way to protect yourself in a real estate transaction is to have a lawyer prepare your deeds. Maryland requires that a deed be prepared by a Maryland attorney to be accepted for recordation in the Maryland Land Records. Types of Deeds Three types of deeds apply to real estate transactions in Maryland: General Warranty Deed – This is a deed that sellers provide the buyer that guarantees the property is free of any liens or any other legal claims in its entire history.…