Remember These Four Points When Buying a Home

Buying 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 completed a disclosure or disclaimer, you should still hire your own inspector before making an offer on the home. Inspectors sometimes find problems that would be expensive to repair, in which case buyers may be able to offer less than that what the seller is asking.

2. Be cautious about foreclosures.

Foreclosed homes that have been vacant for months or longer may have problems associated with disuse, such as broken water pipes, rodent infestation, and mold growth. And if the previous homeowner couldn’t keep up with mortgage payments, it’s unlikely they were able to pay for essential maintenance tasks, like an annual furnace inspection and cleaning.

Buyers of foreclosed homes may be able to get a good property for less than the current market value, but closing the sale may take longer than a typical residential real estate transaction, because of the condition of the home. A foreclosed home is typically owned by a bank, therefore, the negotiation and closing process can take longer than with a private seller and the home may be harder to finance if it is not in good condition.

3. Hire your own realtor.

A realtor working with the seller is essentially interested in satisfying the seller’s needs, not the buyer’s. Hiring a realtor puts you in the best position to negotiate a fair sale, and realtors are aware of all the hitches that may occur in the closing process.

4. Think long-term.

Imagine buying a home with an unobstructed view of the horizon, then learning a developer plans to build a new subdivision right next to your property. That has happened to unsuspecting buyers, so when considering a home because of its location, or its relative isolation, you may want to look into whether any pending plans could interfere with your enjoyment of your property. An attorney can review records and look for building permits or zoning requests that may affect your view or your privacy.

Lusk Law, LLC, knows how to conduct records searches on behalf of people planning to buy a home; our experienced attorneys can also provide legal counsel and representation to homeowners who believe the seller knew of and failed to disclose a latent defect. We have represented clients in Frederick County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Carroll County, Washington County, Anne Arundel County, and other counties throughout Maryland. Please contact us if you need legal help for your residential real estate transaction.

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