Avoiding Legal Obstacles : Understanding the Process is Key!

The Offer

• The purchase or sale of a home always starts with an offer to purchase from the buyer. Things to remember:

  • Get it in writing! The purchase and sale contract is the cornerstone of the deal.
  • Make sure the names, addresses, property description, price and all material terms are fully set forth.
  • Make sure the buyer initials and signs fully.

The Acceptance

• The Seller must accept the contract from the buyer before the deal can move forward.

  • Is the price acceptable?
  • Does the closing date look reasonable?
  • Are there concerns over personal property that should be addressed?
  • Does the contract require conditions to be included for the purposes of Estates, Divorce proceedings, Foreclosure or Bankruptcies?
  • Make sure the Seller initials and signs in all places.

Attorney Approval

• The Contract must be sent to the Parties’ Attorneys for Review and Approval. Things to remember:

  • The Cayuga County form contract is not binding on the parties without attorney approval.
  • Attorneys generally work with both the agents and the clients to make sure all the terms and conditions are correct.

Inspections

• Once the contract is complete and approved by the attorneys, the purchaser takes the lead. The buyer needs to:

  • Set up all necessary home inspections and radon testing;
  • Plan to attend the inspection with the inspector;
  • Provide any inspection reports to their agent and attorney for review, if there are concerns;
  • If there are problems, the deal may need renegotiating;
  • Set reasonable expectations for minor issues as compared with material or major problems.

Financing

• After the contract is in place and approved and the home inspection is accepted, the buyer must meet with his/her bank loan officer to apply for the mortgage loan. Things to think about:

  • Who is going to be on the loan? If there is more than one purchaser, will it be both or just one?
  • What documentation will you need to bring with you to make the application?
  • What type of loan and term best suits the buyers?
  • Will the buyers be able to bring money to the closing? Be sure to discuss the good faith estimate with your loan officer?

TITLE WORK

• Once the buyer receives a mortgage commitment from the Bank, then the Seller takes the lead and must provide title documents to the buyer’s attorney including:

  • Abstract(s) of Title;
  • Survey;
  • Tax Search & Tax bills;
  • Discharge Permit and Water Test Results (if necessary)
  • Proposed Closing Documents including a Deed, Statement of Sale, Transfer Tax Return and Real Property Assessment

CLOSING

• Once the title documents are reviewed and approved by the Buyers’ Attorney, everyone waits for Bank Clearance, and then the closing is scheduled. Things to remember prior to closing:

  • A final walk through the property is important;
    Utility and Water Departments must be contacted by both the
  • Sellers and the Buyers;
  • Homeowners’ insurance should not be cancelled by the Sellers until after the closing;
  • Buyers must bring in cashier or bank checks for funds to be paid (if any) at closing;