The biggest investment of your life may be a home for your family. Why not take a few minutes and learn how to protect yourself, learn something, and make the process enjoyable? Whether it’s losing all your money on a bad investment, buying a house with defects, or everything in between, there are always ways to make sure you do the best to protect yourself when buying a home, as well as that large investment.
Protect Yourself When Buying a Home Strategies
Use a Realtor
You use a realtor to find a house. Great. That’s what realtors do. However, to protect yourself when buying a home, it’s now time to hire an expert, such as a real estate attorney, to go through the contract and represent your interest. Even if it’s a standard form: it may not be standard for you, and there are some things that a trained eye will catch. Are you paying too much in closing costs? Are there defects that someone is trying to hide? What are the key dates? Are there some items that you expect to remain in the house, such as that beautiful chandelier?
I have seen many sellers replace nice fixtures with cheap light bulbs. Can you get out of the contract after inspections if there are problems? We call this the due diligence or inspection period. Don’t rely on your realtor to represent you, as they are not attorneys.
Compare Providers to Protect Yourself When Buying a Home
Research and compare service providers to protect yourself when buying a home. Ask around. Don’t just use your “realtor’s friend” for an inspection, attorney, or title company. Referrals are great, but it’s easy to make some calls or go online to get reviews and learn who you are hiring. CALL the pros. If they are too busy to talk to you, then don’t hire them. You want representatives who want to work for you.
Ask what they will do for you, how much they charge, their experience, etc. If they act like they can’t be bothered with answering some basic questions, then move on. Pros should consider it a privilege to work with you and not just another file. Keep in mind – If the seller’s attorney or title company is doing the closing, they do NOT represent you. Hire someone you can trust to look out for your interest and explain everything to you.
Do You Need to Deal With an HOA or Other Regulations?
Is the property in a condominium or homeowners association? Make sure you ask for all the rules and regulations to protect yourself when buying a home. Read them, along with having an attorney read them with you. You won’t be happy if you are planning on renting the property only to buy it and find that there are no rentals allowed. The same may apply to pets, parking spaces, and others. GET INFORMED.
Protect Yourself When Buying a Home with Surveys and Reports
STAY ENGAGED. Review the title report and survey with the professional you hired to protect yourself when buying a home. Ask if there are any liens, code violations, open permits, or anything else that could cause you problems after you close on the property. Is anything on the survey (if it’s a house) of concern? For example, that big backyard might not be all yours. Better to know now before the neighbor puts up a fence. Get the reports in WRITING. Don’t just show up at the closing with no idea what has occurred since you made your deposit.
Show Up at the Home Inspection
If possible, show up at the inspection to protect yourself when buying a home. You can spend a few hours on a large investment. Discuss all findings with the inspector and get an accurate idea of how much it would cost to resolve or fix any issues. Even if you are buying the property as-is, the seller may still agree to some discounts because they don’t want to start over and would rather sell you the house.
Protect Yourself When Buying a Home in the Closing Deal
BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU WIRE THE MONEY FOR THE CLOSING. Even if you have ignored everything in this blog, do NOT ignore this. Wire fraud is everywhere. People are getting scammed out of millions of dollars when fraudsters pretend to be attorneys and title companies and give fake wire instructions.
You MUST call the company where you are wiring the money to protect yourself when buying a home. Verify their phone number online. Make sure you speak to a principal at the company to verify wire instructions. All wire instructions should be sent securely or encrypted. If you get more than one email with the instructions- BEWARE- it could be a trick.
If the office is local, drive to the office and ask to speak to someone to verify wire instructions. Check ANY emails to see if they look suspicious when it comes to wire instructions. You need to protect yourself. VERIFY, VERIFY, VERIFY!
Take Time to Protect Yourself When Buying a Home
While the home-buying process can be stressful and challenging, take the time to protect yourself when buying a home. It requires a little attention and effort to protect yourself during this large investment. You may also meet some nice people.