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5 Essential Steps for Home Buyers to Safeguard Their Real Estate Investments

By: Christopher R. O’Brien, Esq.

July 7th, 2023 (Spring 2023 Magazine)

1. Engage a Real Estate Attorney:

Real estate transactions can often be complicated and fraught with potential legal hurdles. This is where the expertise of a seasoned real estate attorney becomes invaluable. They provide guidance through the complex legal processes, ensure the title transition is smooth and lawful, provide advice on disclosures from associations and sellers, and manage any potential disputes.

Having a reliable attorney on board equips buyers with the necessary tools to navigate the intricate real estate landscape from initial contract negotiation through final closing.

2. Do Not Skip Home Inspections

Inspections are more than a mere formality—they are an integral part of the home-buying process. These inspections offer a valuable opportunity to identify issues that may become substantial, costly problems in the future. For instance, under an "As Is" Contract, an inspection may provide leverage for renegotiating the purchase price based on identified issues. Under a standard contract, inspections can enable the buyer to compel the seller to rectify defective items and/or negotiate a credit for the necessary repairs.

It is important to understand the type of inspection your contract allows.

3. Utilize Contingencies

Contingencies are strategic clauses included in the contract that provide an exit strategy if certain conditions are not met within a predetermined timeframe. Common contingencies include appraisal, inspection, and financing. Savvy buyers can even include a contingency based on the sale of their existing property to protect themselves from overextending their finances.

Additionally, buyers may want to include an attorney approval contingency to ensure the buyer fully understands the obligations stipulated in the contract. On the other hand, it’s important to remember that contingencies are negotiated with the seller so concessions may need to be made to form a contract that is fair to both parties.

4. Prequalify with Lender

Understanding financial capabilities is crucial when embarking on the property buying journey. Prequalifying for a loan provides a clear outline of the buyer's purchasing power and indicates a serious intention to buy, which can be attractive to sellers.

This proactive approach can help circumvent potential closing delays and assist in meeting the financial contingencies outlined in the contract. As interest rates fluctuate, securing a competitive rate early in the process is beneficial. Local lenders, familiar with the market dynamics, often offer tailored solutions and competitive rates.

5. Prepare for Closing

Realtors are instrumental in preparing buyers for the closing phase of a home purchase. Realtors facilitate communication among all parties, helping to ensure everyone is on the same page as closing approaches. By making sure buyers are well-informed and comfortable, Realtors contribute significantly to a smooth closing. Their goal should be to make the home-buying journey positive and memorable for their clients, resulting in a confident and satisfying purchase.

Ultimately, understanding the responsibilities and safeguards associated with buying a home is the difference between a fruitful investment and a financial burden. By taking these protective measures, buyers can ensure a smooth and successful home buying experience.

Woods, Weidenmiller, Michetti & Rudnick is a Southwest Florida-based law firm representing individuals and businesses in matters involving civil litigation, real estate, and business and corporate law. Founded in 2010, Woods, Weidenmiller, Michetti & Rudnick has emerged as one of the leading law firm’s in Southwest Florida with advanced proficiency in digital business technologies that simplify, safeguard and organize client account data, documents and communications for optimum management and timely filings, updates and retrieval. The client-focused firm has offices in Naples, Florida and Bonita Springs, Florida. The firm is known for providing big-firm quality coupled with small-town service. Our attorneys have backgrounds with premier law firms in Florida and around the country, and the quality of our legal representation rivals that of the largest law firms. Because of the breadth of our experience and services, the attorneys at Woods, Weidenmiller, Michetti & Rudnick offer seamless legal representation as your legal needs evolve. Call us today at 239-325-4070 to see how we can assist with your legal needs.

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