Purchasing residential property in Alabama is an exciting but overwhelming time for people. Getting the right kind of legal advice is important to make sure mistakes are not made that can delay or hinder the process.
Buying Residential Real Estate in Alabama
Your home is most likely the biggest investment you will ever make and it is important to educate yourself on the process so you know what to expect. The following are some of the highlights of the home buying process. Remember, however, that the exact process may differ in the area where you are purchasing a home, and that is why you should speak to a real estate attorney in Alabama to make sure you follow the process accordingly.
Team Up with a Real Estate Lawyer
One of the first decisions you need to make is whether or not you need or want the assistance of a real estate lawyer. A lawyer will make sure your rights are being upheld and that you are meeting your obligations on your end, too. The former ensures you get the best deal when making one of the largest investments of your life while the latter ensures you do not suffer delays because of any legal or formality issues. Making sure your real estate transaction is legally sound is critical, and a real estate lawyer has the skills to do so.
Some states may require a real estate lawyer while others recommend it.
Team Up with A Real Estate Agent
An agent can help guide you through the entire process, from determining your budget to finding your home and placing an offer, to closing on the purchase of your house. If you are familiar with the area you are buying in and have bought homes before, you may not need their assistance. If you are new to the area or new to purchasing a home, you may want the help of an agent.
Having an agent should not cost you anything out of pocket. The seller pays agents out of the proceeds from the sale of the house.
Find Your New Home
This is the fun part–looking for your new home! Attend open houses, and schedule walkthroughs of homes that are for sale but stay within your budget.
Make An Offer
Once you have chosen the home you wish to purchase, it is time to make an offer. If you have a real estate lawyer, they will help guide you through this process. Take into consideration the market and whether or not there will most likely be other people bidding against you. If so, you may want to increase your offer if your budget allows it.
Financing, Appraisals, and Inspections
If you are able to pay cash for your new home, you do not have to worry about obtaining any type of financing. If you are obtaining financing, there are different sources from which you can do so. If you do not know where to begin, ask other people whom you know and trust. If you have a good relationship with your banker, that is always a good place to start.
Whether or not you obtain financing, you need to have the home and property inspected and appraised. This process will highlight any problems so that the lender is aware of the issues and you can have them timely addressed. Anything that arises from the inspection could impact the value of the property.
Attend the Closing
A closing will be scheduled for you to close on your new home, and you will be told what to bring. In some states, an attorney is required to conduct the closing. Once the paperwork has been executed, you will get the keys and you're ready to move in.
Factors to Consider before Purchasing a New Home
There are certain factors to consider before purchasing a new home. They include:
- Your Budget: What can you comfortably afford? If you will be taking out a mortgage to buy the property, what is the monthly payment amount you can pay, and how much is the lender willing to loan to you?
- Your Desired Location: You need to decide where you want to live, and you need to be specific. Do you want to be close to your work? Or maybe it's important to you to live close to recreational places of interest?
- Local Schools: Even if you do not plan on having children, it is still important to move into a good school district in case you decide to sell the home one day. A home in a good school district typically sells more quickly and for more money than one in an unpopular district.
Other factors to consider include things like your commute time, noise levels, and HOA costs and fees.
Seller Disclosure Requirements in Alabama
There are certain matters sellers must disclose when they sell their home. Although this varies widely by jurisdiction, some of the most common disclosures include:
- Neighborhood nuisances, such as a shooting range nearby
- Any known structural defects or hazards
- Environmental hazards
Failure to disclose required information can result in the seller being heavily fined or in litigation. Also, keep in mind that certain sellers may not be required to disclose information. For example, in some states, if the house is being sold by a party that inherited it, they will not be expected to complete a disclosure statement because they did not actually live in the house.
How a Residential Real Estate Lawyer in Alabama Can Benefit Your New Home Purchase
There are many reasons to hire a real estate lawyer when you are in the market to purchase a new home or residential property.
- Loyalty. Remember that for most people, purchasing a home is one of the largest investments they will make in a lifetime, so getting it right matters. There are many potential parties in a real estate transaction, from the seller, the lender, the real estate agent or broker, the title company, and more. Most have their own interests in mind but one: your real estate lawyer. Your lawyer will be loyal to you, your needs, and your wants.
- Title Search. Just because you end up with keys to a new home does not mean you own it. A title search must be conducted, and it must be thorough because there may be other interested parties who can take the home if issues are not dealt with before closing. A lawyer will conduct a thorough search to uncover any hidden title issues, saving you time and money.
- Documents. Your lawyer can draft, review, and negotiate documents on your behalf. This is critical because you may not exactly understand a document's terms and conditions. A lawyer can explain things to you in a digestible manner so that you are informed. When you are informed, you can make better decisions for yourself.
- Suggestions. A lawyer who has been in the real estate industry for a while knows a few things that may benefit you. The lawyer can suggest when a new survey should be made of a property, how to save on insurance, and other tips that you may not have known.
Always keep in mind that not all attorneys have the same experience and the same way of conducting their practice. Meeting the real estate attorney first will help you understand if they meet your requirements and needs.
Contact a Residential Real Estate Attorney in Wetumpka Today
If you are looking to purchase residential real estate in Wetumpka, it is a good idea to get smart legal advice. Contact Stone & Britt, LLC by filling out our online form or calling us at 334-517-6520 to schedule a consultation today. Our real estate lawyers will walk you through the entire home purchasing process.