For Buyers

Home Buyer Tips

You've made the decision to buy property, now let an expert handle the rest! When dealing with what is quite possibly your largest asset, you want to enlist the help of someone who can provide the expertise you need - a REALTOR®.

Purchasing a Home or Property

When purchasing a home or property, a REALTOR® can help you determine what you can afford and shows you only those properties that meet your criteria. A REALTOR® can explain alternative mortgage financing programs.

In addition to knowing the local money market, a REALTOR® can tell you what personal and financial data to bring with you when applying for a loan. Already familiar with current real estate values, real estate taxes, utility costs, municipal services and facilities, a REALTOR®  may also be able to respond to your questions about local zoning changes that could affect your decision to buy.

A REALTOR® can research your housing needs in advance through a Multiple Listing Service even if you are locating to another city.

A REALTOR® can provide you with a checklist to serve as a reminder of some things you should look for in order to make a wise buying decision.

The Contract For Sale

A contract is created when there is a "meeting of the minds" on all terms. The contract is created when the buyer and seller have come to such agreement and signed the offer form along with any counter-offers and addenda. Real estate contracts must be in writing; verbal contracts to purchase real estate cannot be enforced. Prior to signing a contract to buy or sell real property it is important to understand all of the terms to which you may be obligating yourself.

Typically standard pre-printed purchase contract forms are utilized and filled out by the real estate agents handling the transaction or by the principals if there is no agent involved. While most buyers and sellers are usually fully aware of the terms such as price, closing date, and financial terms, there is a tendency to overlook much of the pre-printed portion of the form. Since all the terms of the contract can be binding it is important to understand all of the terms that you are agreeing to before you sign the contract. Not doing so can be a costly mistake, especially if there are problems or difficulties in the transaction.

Some of the items that you may be agreeing to when you sign the pre-printed form may include:

  • What personal property will be included or excluded from the sale.
  • Who will pay for required repairs or retrofits.
  • What the seller's disclosure obligations will be.
  • What the seller's obligation to maintain the property will be.
  • What the seller is warranting about the property.
  • What the buyer's inspection rights will be.
  • What will happen in the event either party does not comply with the contract.
  • What will the parties' legal rights and attorney fee provisions be in the event of a breach of contract.

It is highly recommended that you read and review the pre-printed forms used most commonly in your area before you write and sign an offer to purchase. Your real estate agent can provide you copies of the forms and should be willing to explain and review them with you. Once a bona-fide offer has been presented, your focus will be on issues such as price, terms, and closing date. By reviewing and understanding the purchase contract form ahead of time you can strengthen your negotiating position, protect yourself from incurring unnecessary costs or problems, and have a better understanding of what you will need to do to conclude the sale.