Legal tips for buying a home

For most people, buying a home represents the biggest financial transaction of their lives. Unfortunately, hidden pitfalls and unexpected expenses can accompany the excitement of finding the right property. The following tips can help unsuspecting buyers avoid these problems.

Before signing an agreement to purchase a home, buyers should find out the amount of the municipal realty taxes on the property under consideration. Taxes can range from one property to the next, and there are sometimes even differences between similar properties . Discovering that the taxes are substantially higher than expected after the purchase a home can throw the best budget into disarray. Buyers can usually find out a property?s realty taxes by consulting their real estate agent.

Buyers should also consider making a conditional purchase agreement on a home until they receive a satisfactory report from a professional home inspector. This service is highly valuable, particularly for older homes and can reveal hidden defects such as asbestos or even termites. By hiring a qualified, experienced home inspector, buyers can clear up any concerns they may have about the physical condition of the property. By making the purchase of the home conditional on a satisfactory home inspection, with the buyer having the ability to waive the clause, any major defect will void the contract unless the buyer chooses to proceed.

Moveable items can also cause major disagreements between vendors and purchasers. The general rule is that fixed items stay with the property, and moveable items go with the seller. If buyers want a moveable item to stay on the property, such as customized draperies or the attachments to a central vac system, they should include it in the agreement. If the vendor then removes the item, the buyer will have the agreement as proof to support their claim that it should have been left in the home, which makes it much more likely that the vendor will return the item.

Buyers should also get a legal opinion before signing an agreement to buy a home. A lawyer can provide advice about things such as including conditional clauses that will benefit the buyer, in areas such as financing, inspection, insurance, water tests, and the sale of the buyer?s present home. As well, a lawyer can address specific concerns and point out clauses that might create unexpected or unfair results. By detecting potential legal problems before signing the agreement to buy, buyers can reconsider the purchase from an informed viewpoint.

Provincial law societies provide lawyer referral services for people searching for a real estate lawyer, or a visit to can provide both legal information and the names of local real estate lawyers.

By approaching the purchase of a home with caution, and getting professional help to reduce the likelihood of unpleasant surprises, buyers can purchase the home of their dreams with an easy mind.