THE LAW OFFICE of DOMINIC SILVESTRI, PLLC


4 THINGS EVERY HOME BUYER SHOULD KNOW

You’ve found your dream home and can’t wait to write the purchase offer! Congratulations!  As a real estate attorney, I often get asked to review documents a day or two before closing.  Of course, every attorney would like to be brought in to the picture much sooner. But most people are so excited over the prospect of locking in their deal, the lawyer often becomes an after thought.  There is a TON of information you should be investigating, as part of your purchase (us lawyers call this “due diligence”). I’ve narrowed down the 4 most important things every home buyer should know or at least be aware of to protect your biggest purchase:

1. DOES YOUR PURCHASE AGREEMENT PROTECT YOU?

Your real estate salesperson has done a fabulous job of finding you that dream home. At the end of the day, they are the experts in home sales and you obviously did your homework in selecting him/her. However, as much as he/she may be looking out for your best interests, they cannot give you legal advice. What are the effects of tax prorations? what does that clause about mediation mean? what does uncapping mean? What happens if I don’t like my inspection? While some people are afraid to ask these questions, fearing that they may “lose the deal”, here is the quickest way to get your purchase offer submitted and still cover yourself: have your real estate agent include the clause: “subject to attorney review of all documents”. Whether you decide to engage an attorney or not, the option is yours…and you remain in control.

2. WHAT DOES THE SELLER’S DISCLOSURE STATEMENT SAY?

Most buyers believe that a home inspection will tell them everything they need to be concerned about. WRONG. The home inspection is one cog in the wheel of your purchasing arsenal. Take the time to read the Seller’s Disclosure Statement. Sellers are required by Michigan law to disclose any known defects with the property. This is just the first half of your due diligence equation. This Statement should at least get you to ask questions about the property if anything is disclosed. Don’t hesitate to give your home inspector a copy of this Statement. He/she will be grateful that they are not starting blind.

3. WHAT DOES THE TITLE COMMITMENT SAY?

The title commitment is a document that gives you an idea as to what mortgages, liens or other defects may be present on a home’s chain of title. Requesting a title commitment early in the purchasing process will greatly assist EVERYONE if a defect in title is discovered. Getting this a day or 2 before closing is risky – especially if you have spent time and money obtaining your mortgage loan, only to have closing delayed because title cannot be cleared. Often a TitleNot sure what you are looking at? Consult an experienced real estate attorney. Most will review this for less $$ than your home inspection.

4. WHAT WILL YOUR TAXES BE AFTER THE PURCHASE?

Before you selected your new dream home, you investigated the property taxes, right? Great! That’s the first step. The next step is knowing that the sale you are about to embark on is called an “uncapping event” under the Michigan Property Tax Act. What this means is that the municipality where your new home is located has the right to possibly increase or “uncap” the property tax bill. Find out if this will apply to your purchase. Remember, your knowledge is your power.


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