Do I need an attorney to purchase a new construction home?

Do I need an attorney to purchase a new construction home?

A lot of people are attracted to the comfort of buying a brand new home. The homebuilder makes it so easy now. You get to pick the land and customize the house just the way you want it. They may even make the sale offer extra enticing with additional “discounts” if you use their lender and title insurance company. When you have all the necessary components in front of you, some buyers may feel wrapped in a fake blanket of security. So, the question is, do you need an attorney when buying new construction? The simplest answer depends on how much you trust the title insurance company and lender. When purchasing a new construction home without an attorney, on closing day, you will go to the title office, sit down, and a title agent will place a large stack of papers in front of you. The title agent may tell you where to sign your name on each legal document, but she is not required to and will most likely not explain the documents. Once you sign all the documents, she will send them to your lender for approval. No one there will double-check the transfer documents i.e. deed and HUD form, to make sure they are correct. On more than one occasion, I have found a dollar error made by either the title insurance company or lender in favor of my client. If I weren’t there, the client would have been out that money. In those instances, the error that I found and corrected amounted to more than my attorney fee . So, how much do you really...
What is the attorney review period for a real estate transaction?

What is the attorney review period for a real estate transaction?

When you are buying real estate you have to sign a contract. Once the contract is signed by the seller time becomes of the essence. People believe that once you sign a real estate contract, everything in the contract is final. That is not true. Although I tell my clients to let me know before they sign a contact, the fact of the matter is, once you sign a real estate contract an attorney has five business days for a “review period” and to propose modifications. During the review period the attorney reviews the contract, makes sure all the appropriate signatures and initials are in the proper places, and verifies the contract states what was intended. If the contract does not state what you wanted, it may be cancelled. Also, during this time period, you (the buyer) should get an inspection on the real estate. Once we have the inspection report, we will review the inspection and use that report to ask the seller to fix any items that are covered. If you are unable to get an inspector out within five days, I am able to ask for an extension of the review period. As long as you have something scheduled, asking for an extension should not be a problem. In summary, once you sign a real estate contract you still have time to change the contract if you are within the attorney review period. When considering whether to sign a contract, please get a copy over to my office as soon as possible....
What’s the difference between an owner’s title policy and a lender’s title policy?

What’s the difference between an owner’s title policy and a lender’s title policy?

As we sit down on closing day to go through all of your real estate documents, you will notice on your closing statement that you are being charged for one of two different types of title insurance. Depending on whether you are the seller or the buyer you will be charged either owner’s title insurance or lender’s title insurance (presuming it is not a cash transaction). What is the difference and why do you have to pay for them? Owner’s title insurance, often called an Owner’s policy, is a one time flat fee that the seller pays to the title insurance company for the benefit of the buyer. The title company is where the closing takes place. Although it is only a one-time payment, the insurance policy actually lasts as long as the buyer owns the property. The buyer will receive the owner’s title insurance policy for the amount of the sale price after the closing and it will list all of the benefits and restrictions of the policy. As a buyer you should keep this document in a safe place. This insurance policy is to protect you from a third party later claiming some type of interest in the property. Should this happen, contact a real estate attorney immediately to file a claim for you against your title insurance policy. Lender’s title insurance, also known as a loan policy, is based on the actual dollar amount on the loan. As a buyer, your lender will require you purchase a title insurance policy to protect the lender from potential claims of prior third parties that may be senior to...
Are you mortgage shopping?  Annual Percentage Yield (APR) versus Interest Rate…What you need to know!!!

Are you mortgage shopping? Annual Percentage Yield (APR) versus Interest Rate…What you need to know!!!

When you are searching for a new home mortgage, many become confused as to what the annual percentage yield (APR) is vs. the interest rate. Using the comparison of these two terms is just another way one bank may try and confuse you to make you think its product is better. Remember, banks are in business to make money and they make their money buy “selling” their loans to people like you and me. When you are dealing with mortgage payments for possibly the next thirty years, the specifics really matter.   Of the two terms, interest rate is the more straightforward term. The interest rate on your loan is a rate, expressed as a percentage, at which you (the borrower) pay back on a loan that you took. When you are shopping around for loans, the interest rate should not mean everything to you. The banks or loan officer will try and show you a very low interest number to try and sell you their product. Maybe a more important question to ask is: what is the APR on the loan?   The APR or annual percentage yield is also expressed as a percentage. The APR includes the interest rate (as stated above) plus it bundles all the fees associated with your loan together. Every loan has different fees depending on the lender.  Some of the fees that can be included are the application fee, credit report fee, wire fee, loan origination fee, mortgage insurance fee, and e-mail fee. So, the APR includes the interest rate + all fees associated with getting the loan and “annualizes” that into...
In real estate, what is a owner financed sale a/k/a “a contract for deed”?

In real estate, what is a owner financed sale a/k/a “a contract for deed”?

There are different ways to finance the purchase of a piece of property, i.e. a home. Recently, I have been getting more questions and handling more deals for owner financed sales, a/k/a contract for deed transactions. Simply put, a contract for deed is when the seller of the property will act like the bank and finance the deal for the buyer. Based on the contract terms, the buyer is usually allowed to move into the house immediately and make payments directly to the seller to be applied toward the purchase price. The loan term is typically 30 years but the buyer only pays the seller for 3 to 5 years and at the end of that term must pay off the balance of the purchase price with a traditional mortgage (the balloon payment). This is a great strategy if the buyer’s credit is not quite good enough to qualify for a mortgage but should be in a few years. Helpful Tips If you are in the process of entering a contract for deed transaction (buyer or seller), here are some important items to think about before signing on the dotted line: The purchaser does not own the property until they pay off the full amount per the contract. The contract must specify which party will pay real estate taxes during the contract period (as well as who gets to claim the property for tax purposes). The parties must decide who is responsible for maintaining homeowner’s insurance. The last thing you would want is for your homeowner’s insurance to lapse. Without a bank paying the insurance out of an escrow...

So there is a problem with your new home – what can you do?

Recently, an attorney and freelance writer for realtor.com interviewed me. He asked many questions regarding what a homebuyer can do, if after they purchase a house, they find a major problem that was not disclosed by the seller. The title of the article is So there is a problem with your new home – what can you do? Written by Warren Christopher Freiberg. The issue presented was that a couple moved into their new home and found out it had major roof leakage issues. They did all the right things with getting a professional inspection but the problem was something that appeared to have been covered up and not disclosed by the sellers. The fact of the matter is, showing that the prior owner hid a defect is often easier said than done. In order to have any recourse, you have to prove that the seller knew about the problem and did not disclose it. The bottom line is that getting recourse from the seller can be an expensive legal battle that you may not win, and regardless of the legal complications the new owner also has to pay the fix the undisclosed problem in the meantime. It is a tough decision. Please read the full article at...