What You Should Consider When Purchasing Residential Real Estate

There are a lot of things to examine when purchasing real estate. Attorney Mike Hynum of Hynum Law discusses some key points for your consideration during these transactions.



This is Mike Hynum from Hynum Law in Harrisburg Pennsylvania. And today I'd like to talk to you a little bit about residential real estate transactions.

Now, the perspective can be different, and will be different, depending whether you're the seller of real estate or the buyer of real estate. And today I'm going to talk a little bit about what you should consider when you are preparing to enter into a contract to purchase residential real estate.

The first consideration would be something as simple as whether you're going to engage the services of a real estate agent. Oftentimes, real estate agents can be very helpful in terms of using the criteria you give them to conduct the search to find the property that suits your needs, whether it be in a certain geographic location, whether it be in a certain size, in terms of bedrooms, square footage, and what type of property and how much acreage, and such.

But then, beyond that, there are a lot of other considerations that you really need to be aware of, and they really involve the house itself, and the contract, and then the land itself. As far as the house, look at the condition of the house and make sure that your contract for the purchase of the real estate has everything in it that you want and you need. For example, if you're going to have a mortgage on the property, make sure there's a contingency in the contract that says if you can obtain a mortgage within a certain amount of time, at a certain interest rate, that you're not obligated to buy the property.

Also make sure that you know what conditions you are going to lose your down money under. For example, if you give a thousand dollars down as a good faith deposit on a property, there are instances in which you'll get that money back, and other instances in which you don't. So be sure that you understand things like that in the contract for the sale of real estate.

With respect to the property itself, there are issues like zoning, that you need to look at, if you want to use your property for a certain purpose. Make sure that it's zoned for that purpose.

You also should take a look at your deed. Make sure your property boundary descriptions are accurate. Make sure that there are no tax liens. You can do a lien search on your title. And you'll have title insurance and a company that should do this for you, especially if you're doing a mortgage. But you want to make sure that you know any issues that might be out there with respect to the property that you're interested in purchasing. As I said, whether there may be tax liens on the property, and even something, in this day and age, such as with the natural gas and whatnot, in terms of whether the mineral and gas and oil rights are included with the property. There are a lot of instances we've seen lately where people are selling property but retaining the gas and oil and mineral rights that come with the property, because it can be a very lucrative thing to have those.

So those are some of the kind of issues that you want to consider. Having a real estate agent and an attorney when you're purchasing real estate is not a mutually exclusive idea. You can have both. You certainly don't need to have either, but in many cases it's very helpful to have a real estate agent and have an attorney work with you, just to review the terms of your contract and make sure that you understand exactly what you're obligating yourself to when you put your signature on the document.

If you have any questions about this or any other legal matter, please don't hesitate to contact me.