Buying a house is a huge investment. Unless you build the house for your family, there may always be some things that you don’t know about your house before you buy it or for years thereafter.
Imagine that of one of the previous owners had died years earlier. The Seller may or may not have actual knowledge of anything that occurred prior to their ownership. Nonetheless, the Seller has no obligation to tell the Buyer if the person died in the home unless the Buyer asks a direct, specific question about it (ie. Has anyone ever died in this house?).
Massachusetts law puts the burden on the Buyer to ask the “right” questions of the Seller. The most significant way that most Buyers do their due diligence is by getting a very thorough inspection; however, there are two exceptions to this rule:
1. Lead paint: Under Section 197a, prior to signing a Purchase and Sales, the Seller must provide a signed copy of a lead paint disclosure. The Property Transfer Notification Certification advises the Buyer about the general dangers of lead paint and provides any information that the Seller might have about its presence in the property. This is one of the few documents that the real estate agents must sign during the entire transaction, but they are only confirming that they presented the information to the Buyer; and
2. Septic: Sellers must disclose whether there is a septic system on the property. Prior to closing, the Sellers must also provide a Title V which confirms that the system is working properly. Many Sellers will have the Title V inspection done prior to listing their home to avoid any potential issues that might be raised.
Some Buyer questions may also be answered by a simple Google search. Most sellers would not disclose if the house had some friendly (or unfriendly) ghosts; however, a simple online search might provide an answer to a curious Buyer.
Is there anything that you would want or not want to know about your house?
As always, please let us know if you have any questions about this or any other legal matters.
“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em Know when to fold ’em Know when to walk away And know when to run You never count your money When you’re sittin’ at the table There’ll be time enough for countin’ When the dealin’s done.” – Kenny Rogers
Mortgages are a bit like gambling. You never know when the “perfect time” to initiate a new mortgage is, because there is always a risk that interest rates could go down slightly right after you sign the documents; however, there is always a risk that rates could also rise. The good news is that you can always refinance if rates drop, so unlike gambling, you can “fix” a bad hand.
Right now is a great time to buy (or refinance if you haven’t already done so). Mortgage rates are still really low and housing prices have stabilized. Of course, nobody wants to pay more than they have to for their home. Here is how to “win” the mortgage game:
1. Connect with a really good loan officer.* He or she will help you to obtain the best mortgage rate available based on your income, liabilities, assets and credit score; 2. Correct your credit score, if needed; 3. Consider a 15 year mortgage instead of a 30 year. The monthly payments are often only slightly higher, but you can save a ton of money by minimizing how many years you are paying interest; 4. Take your pre-approval and start looking for a new home with a realtor; and 4. Retain an awesome attorney to close your mortgage!
Curious about the current mortgage rates? Check out this website: https://themortgagereports.com/47095/mortgage-rates-today-january-21-2019-plus-lock-recommendations
Wondering about how much a mortgage might cost? For a ball park range only, peek at this one: www.mortgagecalculator.org
If you just want to listen to Kenny Rogers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyARoGIzmKk
As always, please let us know if we can help with a real estate or any other legal matter.
Regards, John & Faye * If you are in need, we are happy to recommend a really good loan officer.
What is your New Year’s resolution? Are you going to commit to working out more often? Spend more quality time with your family? Start saving money for retirement? Read one book per week?
If your 2018 goals include buying your first home, re-sizing, or refinancing, these should be your resolutions:
1. Find out your credit score and history;
2. Establish and maintain good credit practices (ie. pay your bills on time, monitor your credit report for fraud, close unused lines of credit);
3. Save a reasonable down payment for the house that you want to buy;
4. Find the right home buying team for you. Identify a realtor, lender, and attorney that work together often.* If the team know one another and work well together, the process will be so much easier and less stressful for you;
5. Get organized: gather pay stubs, federal and state tax documents, current photo identification, bank statements, as well as any divorce, bankruptcy, and investment property documents, if applicable;
6. Obtain a mortgage pre-approval; and
7. Be smart: do not make any large purchases or big changes to your finances.
Disclaimer: The material contained in this website does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion as to any particular matter. Nor is it intended to create an attorney-client, business or professional relationship. You should not rely on the information contained in this website without first speaking with an attorney. No claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website are made. This material may be considered advertising under the rules of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.