A real estate attorney can be an asset when purchasing a home to ensure you aren’t being subjected to predatory lending practices, overlooking important contract clauses, or missing crucial details regarding the property and its history. Any time you make an investment as sizeable as buying real estate, consulting a lawyer can offer an extra layer of protection.
If you’ve purchased a home and it’s clear the seller isn’t going to make repairs that were promised, the solution is simple: contact a real estate attorney. You could have a case against them and may need to take legal action to get those repairs done. Those repairs were part of the sale, and the seller is in violation of your agreement.
Likewise, if the seller failed to disclose problems with the house prior to your purchase, you can also take legal action. There are rules regarding what a seller is required to disclose, and if the issue is obvious soon after moving in, such as a leaking roof or a cracked foundation, you certainly have recourse. Cases become more complicated if the problems are subtle and less noticeable until time has passed; this can make it harder to hold the previous owner liable. You will have to prove that the issue arose before you bought the house and that the previous owner was aware of it.
In situations like these, contact a real estate lawyer immediately. We can determine if the seller didn’t keep their word and outline your options to get repairs completed.
For most real estate transactions, a general warranty deed is used. This provides maximum protection for the buyer, since the deed guarantees that the title is free of any liens or encumbrances and the seller promises to defend any against third party claims.
You might also come across a special warranty deed, which has less protection than a general warranty deed. A seller using a special warranty deed can only offer guarantees for what occurred while the seller owned the property, not through its history.
If the buyer and seller know each other, a quitclaim deed may be the easiest way to transfer property. This is common, for instance, between family members. A quitclaim deed offers none of the guarantees of the warranty deeds, so the seller can’t be held responsible for any claims or liens against the property. However, since this deed is typically reserved for situations in which the buyer and seller are well aware of the property’s history, the risk is minimized.
One of our real estate attorneys can help you understand which deed suits your situation.
Before purchasing real estate, one precaution you can take is learning about the property’s history. A real estate attorney can review the title to make sure there aren’t any liens or other claims to the property. Your lawyer can also help execute the deed, as well as go over any paperwork in advance.
According to Arizona law, a seller is required to disclose important, known information about the property that might negatively impact its value. This could include environmental information like mold, asbestos, or erosion, safety information such as the presence of pests or problems with appliances, and history about the property. The seller can’t be held responsible for issues that were unknown, which is why it’s important for a seller to not guess at something when a buyer asks; the seller could be held responsible for that answer. The seller is also required to answer questions about the property specifically asked by the buyer.
To ensure both you as landlord and your tenants are protected, you need a strong lease agreement. A good lease clearly states expectations from both parties, highlights liabilities, and details costs. A real estate lawyer can help you draft a lease for your property, offering you protection and ensuring you don’t hit legal troubles down the line due to vague wording or loopholes. A lawyer can also inform you of what you can do when you face problematic or delinquent tenants, as well as answer any questions about what to expect. This is not an area to skimp on; get the proper paperwork in order so you can have peace of mind as you rent out your property.
If you find you’re unable to keep up with your mortgage payments, don’t wait until the lender tries to repossess your home. There are many debt relief options that can help you save your home before foreclosure is a risk.
If you’re already facing foreclosure, you may be offered a mortgage forbearance agreement, which will help you get back on top of your payments. If you feel you’re overwhelmed, consult one of our real estate or bankruptcy attorneys to see if filing for bankruptcy or seeking other debt relief options can alleviate your situation.
Regardless, if foreclosure is looming, contact legal counsel. You have options — just ask!