If you are considering a home purchase in Florida in the future, it is important to know how to protect yourself as the buyer. Buying a home will likely be the largest investment you will make in your life, and there are numerous things that can go wrong. Fortunately, legitimate home purchase transactions should contain the same elements, and if something is missing, it is likely time to contact a real estate lawyer in Miami, FL. Here are five elements involved with Florida home purchases:
- Purchase and sale agreement: This is the first document provided to the prospective buyer. It is the most important element, and its details determine the terms of purchase. If you sign the agreement without revising unfavorable terms, you are held to them and cannot change them later. For this reason, it’s important to check that it contains the correct property description, payment terms and any warranties. If something seems off and no one is being upfront in explaining it to you, consult an attorney.
- Real estate title: The title is proof of ownership. It is filed with county property records and confirms your rights to own your home. Titles must be “marketable,” which means they are free from doubt over your ownership. When purchasing, request a marketable title and retain a title investigation to confirm that the seller is able to provide that. If they do not have a marketable title, they cannot convey the same to you.
- Warranty deed: This deed conveys the title to you, plus warranties and guarantees. This includes good title, freedom from encumbrance except any that are disclosed, possession and a promise to defend title. While it sounds comprehensive, these are no more complete than what the seller must guarantee anyway. They do not replace a title examination and insurance. While this document is required for every purchase, make sure you confirm the details before completing the transaction.
- Title examination: The other elements contain mentions of why you need a marketable title and how to guarantee that. However, the only way to ensure that you obtain a marketable title is to invest in a title examination. This involves a review of public records to trace ownership and confirm that the current seller holds an unencumbered title. While this sounds like something you can complete on your own online, that is not the case. This is a long, detailed process that involves reviewing deeds, mortgages, wills, decrees and other legal documents that you may not have ready access to review. Hire a professional title examiner or real estate attorney to make sure all avenues are investigated.
- Title insurance: Title issues can arise years in the future and make selling your home or securing a second mortgage difficult. Insurance helps you solve these issues by protecting you from financial loss and court procedures associated with a title that is not marketable. This is essential coverage that can prevent future inconvenience, just in case.
Ruben J. Padron, PA, is a real estate lawyer in Miami, FL. If you are a seller or a buyer who needs assistance navigating your transaction, contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Categorised in: Real Estate Attorney