Selling or buying a property is a critical and often complex financial process. As there are likely several entities involved in the transaction and many regulations to follow, it is important to ensure you are compliant with all of your local real estate laws. In addition, you want to insulate yourself from any risks or liabilities, some of which could arise long after the sale. Here are some common real estate laws you should be aware of when you are selling or buying property.
5 Real Estate Laws To Avoid Breaking
Taking Buyer Money Directly
When a buyer is proffering earnest money deposits for a property, these funds should be given only to a buyer's attorney, brokerage, or escrow agent. If you are a seller, do not accept the deposit or earnest money directly from the buyer.
Failure To Disclose Hazardous Materials
The usage of lead paint and asbestos in homes was prevalent many years ago, but it has ceased after discovering that it can be poisonous. The Alabama Department of Health regulates and enforces violations of current usage. However, some old homes still have these hazardous materials, and that information must be properly disclosed when selling.
Alabama is one of a few states that employs the "caveat emptor" rule or “buyer beware” clause, which means that the buyer is purchasing the home “as-is” and the seller is not required to make disclosures about the structural integrity unless specifically asked. However, normally, these issues can create potential seller liability. Major structural flaws or infestation of insects should be disclosed.
If your realtor is handling the marketing, you should always review any materials for information that could misrepresent your property. Avoid any advertising that over exaggerates or outright lies. If you’re not sure about the legal line of advertising, consult an attorney.
Questionable Financial Transactions
Examples may include accepting funds that are not listed in the contract terms, paying for costs that are the obligation of the buyer, or other misrepresentations that may conceal or manipulate the terms of the sale. Often these tactics may indicate that a party is seeking to deceive a lender to qualify for financing. To conduct or have knowledge of any financial transactions that seem questionable should be discussed with a real estate attorney.
Do you have an important residential or commercial real estate transaction to complete in the regions of Dothan, Headland, Cottonwood or Midland City? The Law Office of Peter A. McInish, LLC, has decades of experience in providing excellent representation for buyers, developers, finance providers, property owners, and sellers in real estate law. Contact the office at (334) 671-2555 today for a consultation or visit the website for more information about their practice areas.