The Legalities That Real Estate Buyers Face

Law Blog

When purchasing a piece of real estate, it's important to address a number of legal issues. Even if you have a law firm representing your interests, it's still wise to understand these three potential issues you might face as a buyer.

Your Duties as a Buyer

It's easy to think about all the duties the folks selling properties have, but you should also think about your obligations as the acquiring party. First, you have a right to conduct an inspection, and you absolutely should make use of it by hiring an inspector to check for potential defects. Secondly, you have the right to conduct a detailed search for outstanding loans and liens against the property.

Anytime a seller has failed to disclose these sorts of concerns, you may have grounds for claiming fraud. Most folks, however, simply elect to walk away from the deal. If money has been exchanged, though, you have the right to demand its return. The contract is also often nullified.

Working with Brokers

Many people seek the help of brokers when they buy properties. It's a good idea to talk with a real estate legal services provider to learn what the requirements for brokers are in the state where the property is located.

Likewise, you should take the time to understand how different brokerage arrangements may dictate fiduciary responsibilities. For example, if a real estate agent was hired by the seller, they may not be allowed to represent your interests. Always know whose money an agent or a broker is speaking for before you listen to their advice.

Zoning and Variances

Depending upon the laws in a region, you may be highly restricted in terms of your rights to use a piece of real estate. Some localities have very open-ended zoning rules meant to promote economic growth, but others can be very aggressive in preserving residential zones, historical properties, or delineated commercial districts. You don't want to end up owning a property you can't legally use in the way you desired.

The only relatively quick potential solution if zoning prevents your preferred usage of a property is to seek a variance. Getting a variance involves directly appealing to the local government entity, usually a city council board, to ask for an exception.

Failing that, you might be able to pursue litigation. Suing municipal governments, though, is something a law firm usually tries to avoid as it is a low-upside strategy. It's usually best to avoid buying properties with difficult zoning situations.


19 March 2020

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