What contingencies should appear in the offer?

When you look to purchase a home, anticipate potential problems. But protect against them so that if something does go wrong, you can cancel the contract without penalty. This is what contingencies allow you to do. They should be included in any offer you present to buy a home. A good agent will do their best to make sure that you have this protection in place.

Most offers include two standard contingencies: a financing contingency, which makes the sale dependent on your ability to obtain a loan commitment from a lender, and an inspection contingency, which allows you to have a professional inspect the property.

Without contingencies, a buyer could forfeit his deposit under certain circumstances if he backs out of a deal.

The purchase contract also should include the seller’s responsibilities, such as passing clear title, maintaining the property in its present condition until closing, and making any agreed-upon repairs.

Does the seller take the furnishings once the home is sold?

Normally. This is because the fixtures – personal property that is permanently attached to a home, such as built-in bookcases or a furnace – automatically stay with the house unless noted otherwise in the sales contract. Anything that is not nailed down is negotiable, including appliances that are not built in, such as washers and dryers. This is another area where a good, experienced agent may be able to help you save allot of money by negotiating on your behalf, and having the Seller leave a number of personal property items-such as the refrigerator, washer, dryer, pool equipment-and more, thereby saving you thousands of dollars since you may not have to purchase these things separately.

Do I need an attorney to buy a home?

A lot depends on the state where the property is located. Some require an attorney; others do not.

Most homebuyers can generally handle routine real estate purchase contracts as long as they read the fine print and understand all the terms. But pay close attention to any clauses, contingencies, and other special considerations that will allow you or the seller to back out of the contract.

When in doubt, consult an attorney. Ask relatives and friends, or your REALTOR®, for recommendations. Call to inquire about their fees and to check their level of experience. Expect that more seasoned attorneys will cost more.

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