Taking the Right Steps to Safeguard Your Investment
For most individuals, the purchase of a home is the single largest transaction of their lives. Regardless of the size of the home, it’s a substantial investment and you want to take the right steps to ensure that there are no surprises.
Step #1: Hire an experienced attorney—With any real estate purchase, there will be many documents, often in complex legal language—buy-sell agreements, disclosures, mortgage, note, title commitments, easements and restrictive covenants. Your interests will be best served by having those documents carefully reviewed by a qualified lawyer, who can identify and remedy any irregularities or errors.
Step #2: Make certain the seller complies with all disclosure requirements—In Pennsylvania, a seller must inform you about the condition of the property, disclosing any “material defects,” and notifying you of :
- The condition of all contents, such as appliances, that will be included in the sale
- Any deed restrictions or homeowner’s association rules or fees
- Any problems with plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling or other property systems
- Whether the house has required smoke detectors and whether they work
Step #3: Get the house inspected—Don’t rely on the representations of the seller. Have a professional inspector examine the house, looking for:
- Evidence of mold
- Pest infestation, such as termites
- Structural integrity of walls, floors, roof and foundation
- Problems with furnace or air conditioner, plumbing, drainage and electrical systems
- Concerns about soil settlement or erosion
Step #4: Make certain you have a purchase agreement that you understand—It’s a good idea to walk through the buy-sell agreement with your attorney, so that you know it sets forth the terms as you want them to be. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or have your lawyer explain things that are unclear.
Contact Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie, Seelaus & Kraft LLP
At Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie, Seelaus & Kraft LLP, we have protected the rights of individuals throughout Delaware County since 1980, including individuals with wrongful death claims. We offer a free initial consultation. To schedule an appointment, call us at 610-565-4055 or 302-594-4535 or contact us online.
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