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Real Estate Laws to Know Before Buying a Home

When people are asked to describe their real estate needs, the topics that come up repeatedly are various problems related to buying and owning a home. The goal of this information is to give some insight into legal issues that arise when people buy their homes, after taking into account the fact that more people have become homeowners than ever before in the last five years.

Real Estate Paperwork – Initial and Closing

There are many things you can do to ensure that your home purchase goes smoothly. At the same time, you can protect yourself should things go wrong. If you are working with a real estate agent, you will need to enter into contract with all the parties involved, in writing.

In addition, if you are a buyer, your future home should be inspected thoroughly. Before any complications arise, the seller must abide by the state disclosure laws and get all papers signed.

In all cases, the seller must disclose everything related to the home, including roof damage, hazardous materials, HVAC issues, water damage, rodents and pest problems, plumbing and septic problems, neighbor issues, and faulty electrical wiring and appliances. For transactions where a lot of money is involved, you may want to consider buying a warranty as well.

Negotiating Who Pays for What

When you, seller and the lender agree on the terms of the purchase, the lender or the agent will present you with a standard contract form. The contract probably has not been written with your best interests in mind.

However, this is a matter of business and there is nothing shady about it. You have the right to negotiate about who pays for certain costs, such as title insurance premium, remodeling project, cleaning cost, and so on.


Although there is a standard contract between a buyer and a seller, everything is subject to negotiation and any clauses can be changed and rewritten when it comes to expenses.

Note that in any case, oral contracts are a bad idea and one should not rely on them. Instead get your purchase agreement in writing. If it is not in writing, the court, when issues come up, won’t even need to decide who is right and who is wrong.

Buying a Foreclosure Property and Dealing With Renovation

While you want to make your foreclosed home purchase a castle, it probably doesn’t sit on a hill. It may be a part of a planned development, or it may be in a locality that is governed by zoning laws. The point it that, any renovation to the home before you move in needs a permit.

If you want to tear down the entire structure and reconstruct it, a building permit needs to be obtained from the authorized department. Even if your home is in an unincorporated town, the chances are good that a building department exists within the county.

With that in mind, there are many law books and resources about real estate that can help you make informed decisions about a wide range of home purchasing problems and options.

For more information, call our offices directly at (203) 269-4910 or visit our Contact Us page.

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