The New Real Estate Market
Todays real estate market is new. More information than ever before is readily available to home buyers and home sellers online. Sites such as Hubzu.com offer online property auctions. Resources like Zillow and REALTOR.COM let buyers browse real estate for sale from their phones. Sellers can self-list on the Multiple Listing Service, once the exclusive domain of REALTORS. Lender-owned foreclosed upon properties (“REOS”) remain an identifiable segment of the market.
Every Buyer wants a bargain. Just be sure that your bargain doesn’t come with very expensive hidden costs.
Who Protects You?
Since October 2016, Maryland has had a new law of agency that can significantly benefit homebuyers. Under this law, a REALTOR cannot show you even one property without disclosing the agency relationship to you and having you agree to it. A REALTOR who works for the Seller only works for the Seller – never the Buyer. You should have your own buyers’ agent to protect you. Even on-line auction sites will often agree to a buyer-brokerage.
If the property you are interested in is an “REO” (Real Estate Owned) that has been foreclosed upon by the Lender, it may be listed with a local REALTOR. REALTORS cooperate to sell their listings. There is no reason you cannot choose your own buyers’ agent to help you negotiate the transaction. If you want to buy a “FSBO” (For Sale By Owner) that has been advertised online or self-listed on the Multiple Listing Service, the owner is essentially acting as his own broker. By listing on the MLS, the owner may have agreed to pay a selling agent’s commission. Again, make sure that any REALTOR you deal through represents you. If you are buying a true FSBO with no agent involved, do not just sign whatever contract the seller presents to you. Get your own lawyer to draft or at least review your contract. Once you sign it, you’re probably stuck with it.
Attorneys at The Law Firm of Shaw & Crowson, P.A. have more than twenty years’ experience drafting residential and commercial real estate contracts.
Some braver buyers bid at foreclosure auctions. Be very sure about what you are bidding on. Often, no promises are made about whether the lien being foreclosed upon is the only lien against the property. If there are other liens, you could be promising to pay more for the property than the auction price. And all auction property is sold “as is and where is”. There are no assurances about the property’s condition. Buying at foreclosure auction is a penultimate BUYER BEWARE.
The Importance of Title
The invisible part of your purchase transaction may be the very most important part: legal title to the property. Even if you are enticed by a closing cost “discount”, do not use the Seller’s title company. Too often, especially in a foreclosure or REO situation, the title has not been properly researched an reviewed. You could pay for the real estate and not legally own it. There could be a defective deed description or unresolved liens of record. Your ability to refinance or resell could be impaired.
Attorneys at The Law Firm of Shaw & Crowson, P.A. have more than twenty years’ experience analyzing legal chains of title, deeds and other documents of record, and issuing Owner’s Title Insurance.
LAW is definitely LOCAL when it comes to buying local real estate. Buying at auction, buying lender-owned foreclosure property, buying for sale by owner? Contact us. The Law Firm of Shaw & Crowson, P.A.