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Top 10 Reasons To Consult A Real Estate Attorney BEFORE You Buy Property

by | Sep 11, 2021 | TC Drafting, TC Review, TIER, TIER Plus

Buying a home is likely to the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make. Whether it’s vacant land, a home in a subdivision, or a condo, do your homework to avoid making an expensive mistake.

10 Reasons to Consult a Real Estate Attorney

  1. Title Exceptions. What few people know about title insurance is that there are all types of encumbrances that aren’t covered in title insurance policies. These “title insurance exceptions” are rights that have been granted to someone else, somewhere along the line. They can be as simple and common as utility easements or as complex as zoning and land use exceptions. Use TIER for a legal opinion to fully understand what you’re buying, particularly property in rural areas.
  2. Easement Issues. Easements are one of the most common causes of real estate disputes. Simply put, an easement refers to a landowner retaining title to a property, while granting rights to someone else to use the property for a specific purpose. Easements can be granted for everything from utilities to access, water rights to farming agreements. If you’re purchasing a property, it’s important to know what easements have already been granted and/or if you’ll need an easement from a neighbor to be able to properly use or enjoy your property. Use TC Drafting for the services of an experienced real estate attorney review an easement or draft an easement.
  3. Seller Disclosures. If, during the purchase process, the seller has disclosed something about the property that you don’t fully understand or that makes you uncomfortable, use TC Review to discuss this with a real estate attorney before following through on the purchase.
  4. Boundary Lines. If there’s any type of dispute or disclosure about a boundary line for a property that you’re considering purchasing, use TC Drafting to start a discussion with a real estate attorney. Walking away from your dream home will be a better option than finding out that part of it was built on your neighbor’s land.
  5. Joint Tenant vs Tenants In Common. If you’re purchasing a property with someone else, you need to understand your legal rights. Whether it’s your spouse, family member, friend, or business partner, you’ll need to decide whether you’ll take ownership of the property as “joint tenants” or “tenants in common.” There are legal and financial ramifications to joint tenancy and tenancy in common, as well as estate and inheritance issues if you were to die before selling the property. Use TC Drafting to understand the scenarios, best case and worst case, if you have not signed a document yet and TC Review if you have signed a document.
  6. HOAs. If the property you’re considering purchasing is part of a homeowners association (HOA), it’s important to know what rights you will, and won’t, have to enjoy the property. A real estate attorney can review the HOA documents and see if there are any red flags or untenable rules and regulations. It’s also good to get legal advice if the owner who’s selling the property has any current violations or issues with the HOA that you could potentially be liable after you purchase the property. Use TC Drafting to get the CC&R’s reviewed.
  7. Vague Deeds. Vague deed issues, in which it’s not entirely clear who owns the property, can be a nightmare and a virtual guarantee of a future lawsuit. Vague deeds often stem from family members conveying property to each other (from a parent to children, for example). But they can also arise from easements, unclear property lines, or other issues that have made it murky as to who actually owns the property and whether they have the right to sell it to you. Vague deeds aren’t necessarily a deal killer, but use TC Review to get real estate attorney to review the deed and clear up any ownership issues before you agree to buy the property.
  8. Enforcement of the Real Estate Sales Agreement. If you have a purchase sales agreement in place for a property, and the seller tries to back out of the agreement, use TC Drafting to get in touch with a real estate attorney. An experienced attorney could help enforce the agreement or help you get compensation for losing out on the property.
  9. Acceptable Uses of the Land. Every piece of land or property has “acceptable uses.” If you’re buying a condo in the city, you’re bound by zoning laws and other city ordinances. If you’re purchasing a home in a rural area or the mountains, the acceptable uses can become even more complicated. You might or might not be able to use the property for agricultural, commercial, business, or industrial purposes. Or certain rights – such as water rights, mineral rights, or oil rights – might have been transferred away long ago. In any case, it’s better that you know exactly what you’re getting, and how you’ll be able to use the property, before you purchase it, not after. Use TIER or TIER Plus to understand which land uses are permissible and also identify any encumbrances on the property.
  10. Peace Of Mind. If anything concerns you, anything at all, you should contact a real estate attorney before following through on a real estate purchase. The peace of mind that you’ll get – from an attorney who can come up with a binding, legal solution to resolve the issue or who recommends that you walk away from the deal – is priceless!

The information in this Post is not legal advice. Legal advice is based on specific facts. This information is necessarily general in nature.

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