Buying or selling a home is one of the biggest legal transactions most people will ever undertake. Whether you’re buying your first home, upgrading as your family grows, or downsizing, you want to make sure that the home you buy is the right one for you. If you’re selling, you want to have a trouble-free experience so that you can move on from the house.
Buying A South Portland Home
When you’re on the buyer’s side of the table, you’re trusting that your purchase will go smoothly and you’ll be happy in your new home. Sometimes there are hone sales legal issues that may make that process difficult.
Some of the issues you may encounter during the process of buying a home can include:
- Issues with the property title (liens, etc.)
- Property boundaries and lot sizes. (Don’t rely on trees, shrubs, walls, or other “markers” to establish a property line; this requires an appraisal.)
- Easements that allow others to cross or otherwise have limited use of your property
- Zoning, land use, and other municipal codes
- Property in a “shoreland zone”
- Property taxes
- Environmental issues in and around the property, such as radon, asbestos, mold, and lead-based paints
- Issues in the community and neighborhood
- Rules by homeowners and condominium associations
- Significant wildlife habitats and vernal pools on or near the property
- Any imputation associated with the property that may influence your decision—crime, suicide, fires, or allegations of supernatural activity at the property.
These are just some of the issues that you may encounter when it’s time to find a home in Maine. Your real estate agent should be able to answer some questions, but it may also be up to you to engage in due diligence.
Selling A South Portland Home
Maine also has specific requirements for selling a home.
Sellers are required to disclose any and all material defects in a home. Stating that a house is sold “as-is” does not exempt a seller from making disclosures. However, a seller is not required to make these repairs unless it’s agreed to in writing in the sales contract. These defects may include:
- Unsafe conditions
- Material defects of the property or any of the home’s systems
- Damages or known faults with the structure, the home’s systems or any associated elements
- Flood risks are known to the seller
- Disputes of boundaries
- Environmental concerns
- The presence of arsenic, lead or radon
This is just a partial list of potential items you should disclose to a potential buyer. State law also requires functional smoke detectors, and the number depends on the size of your property. Your real estate advisor can assist you with this requirement.
While it may not be required, it may be wise to disclose previous activities such as paranormal activity and high-profile crimes that may be associated with the property. One example is the recent arrest of a high-profile individual by the FBI in New Hampshire this year. (Wouldn’t you want to know if you were buying a hideaway for a wanted individual?) If you don’t, buyers eventually find out from neighbors, real estate agents, or archived news reports.
Disclosure ensures that as a seller, you are legally compliant and your liability is reduced.
What To Do If You Run Into Home Sales Legal Issues
Maine requires real estate transactions to have an attorney involved. While it is an additional cost to buying the home, a real estate attorney can help with:
- Contract drafting and review
- Title issues
- Contract disputes
- Special situations such as owner financing and rent-to-own arrangements
Additionally, a Maine real estate attorney can check the title on a home you’re buying or selling to make sure that it’s a clear title with no liens or issues the seller doesn’t know about. This is particularly true if you’re buying a home from a couple that’s selling it as a result of their divorce. There may be title liens that they aren’t aware of and that must be handled before they can sell it.
Your Gorham, ME Real Estate Litigation Lawyer
For more than 25 years, Peter W. Evans has helped Mainers with their various home sales legal issues, including buying, selling, and foreclosure. Mr. Evans gives each client and case personal attention to resolve nearly any kind of real estate litigation problem. Call (207) 747-5114 today or contact us online to make an appointment.