Buying a Home?


What is the Contract of Sale?

A Contract of Sale (Contract) is an agreement for the purchase and sale of real estate. The Contract is usually prepared by your real estate agent and is a standard form contract, which, after being signed by all parties, is submitted to your attorney for further review.

What is Attorney Review?

Once the Contract is signed by both the Buyer and the Seller, each party has three business days to have an attorney review and/or revise the Contract. During this time period, your attorney will discuss the Contract with you, determine if changes need to be made, and decide whether any additional issues need to be addressed. Your attorney will then send an “attorney review” letter to the Seller’s attorney, and the Seller’s attorney, in turn, will send a review letter to your attorney. These letters will create revised or additional terms of the Contract. The Contract will remain in "Attorney Review" until all parties have reached an agreement as to the final terms, so the Contract is not binding until this happens and the Attorney Review period has been concluded.All time periods (for the mortgage contingency and inspection results) will begin to run on the date that Attorney Review is concluded. It is important to realize that since the contract is not binding during Attorney Review, the Seller may consider other offers on the property during that time.

It is ideal to select an attorney and contact her prior to signing a Contract – particularly if the Contract is a New Construction or “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) Contract that very likely does not contain Attorney Review provisions. If a Contract of Sale does not have Attorney Review wording, it will be binding once it is signed. In this instance, it is particularly important that an attorney review the Contract prior to your signing it and it becoming binding.

What are my expected closing costs?


Inspections

Immediately after the conclusion of the Attorney Review period, you should make an appointment to have a home inspection completed. Although home inspections are not required, it is generally recommended when buying a home. Depending on the property, you may opt to have any or all of the following inspections performed: structural, wood destroying insect (termite), radon, septic, well, heating/air conditioning, chimney, lead paint, and underground storage tank. In addition to providing you with valuable information about your new home, an inspection allows you to accompany the inspector around the property and obtain maintenance recommendations for your new home. Please note that this expense is paid directly to the home inspector at the time of the inspection.

You will typically have between 10 and 14 days to obtain an inspection and submit the results to the Seller’s attorney. Your attorney will send a copy of the inspection report to the Seller’s attorney and request that any material defects be addressed, either through repairs or through a credit at the time of closing. Both parties then work to reach an agreement with regard to any inspection issues. At your request, this firm will provide you with the contact information of various licensed and well-regarded home inspectors.

Title Insurance, Title Searches and Survey

You will be required to purchase title insurance, which is an insurance policy that covers both your ownership interest and your lender’s mortgage interest in the property. The title searches will show any judgments or liens that may exist against the parties or the property itself, including all of the Seller’s open mortgages and any tax liens from unpaid property taxes.

Your lender will generally require that you have a survey done for the property. A survey is a sketch or a map of the property showing its boundaries, the relative location of all buildings and fences, and any other physical features on the property. It also shows the position of any public or municipal easements on the property.

This firm will order the title insurance policy and accompanying title searches from a licensed title agency, and we will order a property survey from a reputable surveyor. Title insurance, title searches and the survey costs are paid at closing.

Mortgage costs

Mortgage closings costs vary from lender to lender. You are advised to speak with your mortgage broker about their specific costs/fees. Some companies collect fees up front and others are paid at closing. It is wise to contact multiple mortgage companies to compare rates and closing costs. At your request, this office will provide you with the contact information of various reputable mortgage companies.

Insurance

If you are purchasing a one or two family home, your lender will require you to purchase a one year homeowner’s insurance policy and provide a receipt prior to your closing. If you are purchasing a condominium or a town home, your lender may not require you to purchase a policy, since the Homeowner Association typically has a master insurance policy that will cover the structure of the building. However, it is a good idea to purchase your own insurance policy so that you have coverage for your personal property and for other items that not be covered by the Association’s policy. At your request, this firm will provide you with the contact information of various reputable insurance agencies.

Condominium Association Fees

Our office will request a Statement of Account from the Condominium Association. This statement will provide all fees that need to be paid to the Association at the time of closing.

Taxes

At the time of closing, a buyer will typically be required to pay property taxes for the upcoming quarter.

Attorney’s Fees

These fees are paid at the time of closing. Please contact this office directly to find out the rate for the purchase of your future home.

The information published on this website is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please read the disclosure
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