A real estate agent or broker can write a land contract to protect your interests. Naturally, a real estate attorney would be even better. If you hire a real estate attorney, tell the attorney to write the contract in plain English so that an average person can read and understand it easily. You would like the Seller to be able to read the contract and make a decision without feeling the need to hire an attorney. Seller attorneys have a knack for killing a sale.
Build Own Home Part 9
Don’t get locked in with a fill-in-the-blank contract. If something is important to you, I don’t care how ridiculous it may seem, put it in writing. We have stipulated in writing that if a particular tree died, prior to closing, we didn’t want to buy the property! We would like to buy the property for that tree. As long as the Seller and Buyer agree, we have a deal; but you must specify in the written contract the terms that you want to agree on.
The main items you want in the contract are what we call “contingencies.” These contingencies ensure that if we can’t get the money or the building permit to build this home (or whatever we want to build), we do not want to purchase the property and our earnest money will be refunded. A real estate attorney will be helpful in writing the contract to ensure that your contingencies are enforceable.
Anytime you purchase real estate, we recommend you hire an attorney to look out for your interests. Never rely on the bank or the seller’s attorney look out for you, the buyer. Your attorney is going to read over all the many papers you’ve got to sign at closing, many of which you likely do not want to read and probably would not even fully understand. Most people simply glance at these papers and sign them. The safest bet, though, is to have your attorney read these papers and advise you before the closing occurs.
“A note on choosing your attorney.” If you’re going to have a doctor operate on your brain, you don’t want to hire a foot doctor. The same is true with attorneys. Attorneys tend to specialize. You don’t want just any attorney handling your real estate transactions. We not saying you need to go to the biggest and most expensive firm in your area to find a “good” real estate attorney, however it’s worth your while to find a reputable real estate attorney who will notice little details that could be a potential problem. Some out-of-state banks may want you to hire a local attorney to issue a written opinion as to the validity of their loan documents in your state. You want more than an “opinion letter.” You want the attorney to read those little things in fine print and advise you of any potential problems.
Even if you have the best attorneys in the country checking the title to your property, spend the additional money and purchase an “owner’s title policy.” This is very cheap and something we consider a must. The attorneys are only human and they can make a mistake when they’re checking the title to the property. There can also be title issues the attorney would not be unaware of, such as fraud. The lender will always acquire a title policy to cover their loan but this policy does not cover you and your equity. That’s why you want an “owner’s title policy.” Also, have the policy insure the boundary lines of your current survey. If you don’t do this, you could have a problem with a boundary line that is not covered under the basic title policy.
Just for your information, if you currently own property but you do not have title insurance, you can still get it. Instead of hiring an attorney, look in the yellow pages and call a title insurance company direct. This will probably be cheaper than going through an attorney.