Q: Why do I need a real estate attorney?


A: There are professionals who can help you with the purchase of a home and offer direction on what you should consider: A real estate agent can advise you on the Marketplace and what is available in your price range, as well as help you to consider aspects of a home which may be important to you (such as nearby schools, shopping, and commuting options) An accountant or mortgage loan officer can help you determine what kind and amount of mortgage payment you can afford and alert you to the estimated property taxes which would be owed annually. A loan officer can also help you pre-qualify for a real estate loan. A homeowners insurance agent can provide information on the amount, type and cost of coverage you'll likely need.


However, a real estate lawyer can make sure that the terms of the most important document of any real estate transaction, the purchase agreement, are complete and protect your rights and interests. That is we strongly recommend that both a seller and a buyer consult with an attorney from John R. Tatone & Associates BEFORE signing a purchase agreement.


An attorney may assist you with all aspects of the transaction from beginning to end which may include the following: Drafting and/or revision of an offer to purchase drafting and/or review and/or revision of a Seller's Disclosure Statement Activities related to the procurement of a certificate of occupancy review and/or revision of mortgage documents drafting and/or review and/or revision of a land contract drafting and/or revision of a closing statement review of a commitment for title insurance and/or activities related to the clearing of title drafting and/or review and/or revision of warranty deed or quit claim deed drafting and/or review and/or revision of escrow agreement drafting and/or review and/or revision of affidavits telephone calls and/or correspondence with realtors, purchasers, sellers, title company representatives, mortgage company representative, tax authority representatives and others appearance at closing recording of a deed and/or related documents with the register of deeds.



Q: Should I consider buying a home in foreclosure?


A: Purchasing a home in foreclosure often appears to be a good value, but factors outside of the price need to be considered: The purchase of a foreclosure often is a "cash only" sale. Can you view the actual condition of the home inside and out before placing a bid? The home may be in need of extensive repairs driving up the actual cost of the home. Are there liens for taxes or mechanics liens that the winning bidder will be responsible for? Is there a redemption period for the previous owners? If so, how long do they have the ability to buy the house back before you can move in?



Q: What questions should I ask when looking at homes?


A: Many of your questions should focus on potential problems and maintenance issues. Does anything need to be replaced? What things require ongoing maintenance (e.g., paint, roof, HVAC, appliances, carpet, plumbing, electrical, etc.)? Also ask about the house and neighborhood, focusing on quality of life issues. Be sure the seller's or real estate agent's answers are clear and complete. Ask questions until you understand all of the information they've given. Making a list of questions ahead of time will help you organize your thoughts and arrange all of the information you receive. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Home Scorecard can help you develop your question list.



Q: What is a purchase offer?


A: A purchase offer or agreement contains all the details of the offer to purchase a piece of property. An agreement is binding only once the document has been agreed to and signed by the buyer and seller. Often in the purchase of real estate, there are a number of offers and counter offers until an agreement is reached. Items and conditions that are often included in the purchase agreement include: Description, legal and common, of the property purchase price amount of earnest money or down payment features and fixtures which are to remain home inspection results anticipated financing closing date final inspection and move-in condition penalties for breaking the offer response time to accept the offer obtaining clear title to the property clean inspection report.



Q: What good is title insurance?


A: A title search and the issuance of title means the ownership of the property can be cleanly conveyed to the new owners. During the search, the history of the property is researched verifying that all previous claims or liens have been satisfied, allowing a clear title to be issued. If and claim is overlooked, the title insurance protects the owner from the claim. Remember that if it's not in writing on a real estate deal, it's not enforceable.



Q: Why is a deed required?


A: A deed transfers ownership of property from one owner to the next. Deeds are recorded in the county where the property is owned. There are two types of deeds in Michigan: Warranty deed - which guarantees no other person owns or claims.



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DISCLAIMER: Material presented on the John R. Tatone & Associates, PLC website is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended as professional advice and should not be construed as such.


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