Buying a home is likely the most expensive purchase you will make in your lifetime. Though Maryland does not require an attorney, it is advised to consult an attorney to review your contract to ensure the terms and conditions are fair and in your best interest. Remember the cost of an attorney experienced in real estate is small compared to what it may save you in the purchase of your home.
If you have already purchased a home and problems have arisen, you will need an attorney's advice on how to proceed and to know if/ when litigation is necessary.
Let's take a look at some issues that can arise during and following a real estate transaction:
Failure to sell or close: When a buyer or seller has a change of heart and the terms of a sale agreement are not honored, quick intervention is needed to ensure that your rights—whether as the buyer or seller—are protected. You may be able to request an injunction or refund of incurred costs or deposit. It is ideal to have your contract reviewed by an attorney before signing, to determine if each clause allows sufficient time and flexibility for your needs.
Escrow Issues: As part of the execution of a buy-sell agreement, the parties may rely on a third-party escrow agent. Sometimes the execution of an escrow transaction fails. Typical reasons for this include failure of the buyer to obtain financing, defect within property revealed by inspection, and failure of execution—either by buyer or seller. If an escrow transaction fails, either or both parties may seek to enforce certain remedies, such as the return of the escrow funds to the buyer or their delivery to the seller.
Incomplete or Inaccurate Disclosures: A seller can make certain representations and warranties that the buyer learns after closing were false or a buyer may learn that the seller failed to disclose defects of which he/she had prior knowledge.
Property Border, Boundary, and Easement Dispute: Some properties may have conflicts in their records. For instance, property titles, deeds, or maps may conflict or the deed may contain correct information, but mistakes by a previous owner or builder could have resulted in an encroachment.
Liens and Titles: Ensuring you receive a clean title can be the single most important issue for a buyer. This means that there are no existing liens on the property and there are no defects in the title. A title search prior to closing will likely expose any concerns, though issues such as fraud, forgery, mental incompetence, clerical error, improperly probated wills, and confusion due to similar or identical names can still arise.
Purchasing a home can be complicated, confusing, and time consuming. It is also very likely to be the biggest investment you make. All these factors make buying a home a very stressful time for most people. By teaming with an experienced attorney that you trust, you will be able to sail through the process. Should you need help after you close to address unforeseen problems, an attorney is your best asset to guide you through litigation.
DISCLAIMER: The information above is for general informational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is intended or created by this information. Each individual situation is different and therefore a formal in-person consultation is necessary before any specific advice may be relied upon as appropriate and accurate for a given situation. Please call Patriots Law Group at 301-952-9000 to set up a consultation if you wish to obtain specific legal advice you may rely upon. We serve clients anywhere in the world, with in-person consultations available at our Suitland, MD office — right next to Andrews Air Force Base — for clients in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.