THE OFFER TO BUY
Having found a home you wish to buy, contact your lawyer before signing anything. Whatever it title may be, the written agreement between buyer and seller is binding on both and your bargain is made when it is signed. Therefore, your lawyer can assist you more before that agreement is signed than at any later time.
The agreement to purchase must cover at least these items: price, earnest money, the dollar amount and other conditions of the mortgage you will require, the kind of deed, dates for closing and for occupancy, items to be left with the house when seller moves, title exceptions, survey, taxes and insurance. Your attorney will be sure no important consideration is overlooked in the contract and will later attend the closing with you to be sure the contract is fully performed by the seller.
As the owner of a home you not only have a valuable asset but also new risks of loss and potential liabilities. Therefore, you will need to carry fire and extended coverage plus public liability insurance. Combined coverages, known as howeowners insurance policies, are commonly used. About 30 days before closing you should acquaint yourself with the available coverages and rates. You must have purchased you insurance prior to closing and your mortgage lender must be named as in insured.
In addition to the down payment another important cost of home ownership is the mortgage payment. That payment will include principal and interest on the amount borrowed and usually 1/12th of the anticipated real estate taxes and insurance premiums for the forthcoming year. Both you and any prospective mortgage lender must view the proposed purchase in light of your ability to make these payments.
Prior to closing, the seller must provide the purchaser with satisfactory evidence of good title as defined in the purchase agreement. This can be done by furnishing an owner’s title policy. Sometimes it is also done by giving an up to date abstract of title showing clear title. If there is a mortgage loan, the lender will want a lender’s title insurance policy. In many counties, it is customary for the seller to pay for the owner’s policy and the buyer to pay for the lender’s policy.
Now you are ready to close. For convenience, real estate transactions are usually closed at the office of the purchaser’s mortgage lender. At the closing the seller delivers the required documents of title. Your attorney will understand the purpose, importance and effect of each one and will check for any errors or omissions.
Condominium ownership is a form of general and special ownership in which individuals own a deed and share with other owners a common ownership of public areas. This means that each owner must pay taxes on a prorated basis and is responsible for upkeep of common areas. Most condos are organized as corporations and the corporations, through a board of directors, provide by-laws with which all owners must comply. Careful study should be given to such by-laws before agreeing to purchase a condominium.
Mortgages are extended in the same manner for a condominium as when buying a single family residence. As with home-ownership, there are distinct advantages and disadvantages to condominium ownership which should b weighed carefully.