There is an excitement like nothing else you’ve felt before when you are buying real estate. Whether it is your new home, dream property, or commercial land for your future business, the anticipation is almost tangible.
When you are conducting a real estate transaction, your hope is that everything runs smoothly and you can quickly and easily be in your new home or dealing with your new property. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. But if you know what to watch for, you can avoid some common issues before they arise.
Here are ten of the most common issues that come up during a real estate transaction that have the potential to stop a sale in its tracks or at least put it on hold temporarily.
- Items are left behind in the house.
When this is something little like some easily forgotten shoes tucked away in the back of a closet, it is not a big deal. However, when it is something like a couch or kitchen table, cumbersome tools, or other things that the buyer did not agree to purchase, these items could cause problems during the final walk through. This could delay the closing while it is determined how to deal with the unwanted objects.
- Home inspection agreed-upon repairs are not completed.
Home inspections are common practice during real estate transactions. These types of inspections can find major problems hidden in a house that are not visible at the surface. The issues can then be negotiated into the final price or required to be fixed prior to the closing.
Often, repairs that should have been fixed have not been by the final walk through. Maybe the seller forgot, or maybe the professionals who were supposed to complete the repairs were delayed. Whatever the reason, this issue could cause at the very least a delay in your closing, or, if the home was in need of serious repair, stop the sale altogether.
- Public record errors have been made.
Clerical and filing errors that were made in the computer at the time of the original home or land purchase can cause delays in your transaction while the mistake is tracked down. This can get costly for the seller and even result in a halted sale.
- Hidden or forgotten liens on the property can stall the sale.
If someone else has a legal claim on the lien of the property you are trying to purchase, their claim gets first priority. This means that if the prior owners had a debt that was not paid, the lienholders will get their debt from the sale. Often, this makes the sellers increase their asking or accepting price and puts a fork in the process.
- Property right ownership issues can be contested.
Occasionally, when a person dies, the home ownership goes to the heirs that it was bequeathed to in the will. Sometimes those heirs are distant or missing at the time and other family members are able to step in. Other times the family members may contest the will for property rights.
When this happens before a real estate transaction is processed, it is an annoyance or a difficulty as the sale is put on hold or cancelled.
If this happens after you purchased the property, it can become a legal issue. You may not have rightful ownership even after you have paid on it for years. When this happens, it is important to speak to a real estate attorney to protect your rights.
- Forgeries can also affect your property rights.
Like errors in public records filing, these forged documents can mess up a sale quickly. But since these documents were filed illegally, they are often harder to track down the source of the problem.
When the forgeries are caught during a real estate transaction, the effect can be devastating as you see the dream home and property you were so close to buying slip through your fingers.
But if your home was purchased based on forged records, you may need to speak to an attorney to see what your rights to your property are.
- Boundary disputes or survey issues can delay a real estate transaction.
Before a home or property is purchased, it may go through several surveyors. If these property lines do not match, the land will have to be resurveyed and analyzed to determine which boundary lines are part of the property. Otherwise, a neighboring property owner may be able to lay claim to part of what you thought was your land.
- Uncovered asset distributions down the road can alter your right to your home.
It does happen occasionally that a person with no heir, family, or will, passes away. With no one to inherit the property, it goes to the state for ownership.
Homes that are sold in this manner have the potential of coming back down the road and causing problems. If a will is eventually uncovered, or a rightful heir steps forward, you may lose your rights to the property that you had purchased years earlier. Be sure to speak with a knowledgeable real estate attorney if this happens to you.
- Items promised to be in working order do not function correctly.
This often applies to large appliances. When an item is listed as part of the sale, it may be checked at the final walk-through. Common issues that can delay a sale are non-working or cooling refrigerators, broken freezers or stoves, and non-functioning dishwashers, washing machines, or dryers.
- Unpaid property taxes can have an impact on your sale.
Real estate tax liens take priority over any other type of lien. If these unpaid taxes are noticed before the sale, the seller should take care of them, but it may delay or alter the terms of the purchase. However, if they are not noticed until after the sale, the burden of payment passes on to you as the new homeowner.
Walk Through Your Real Estate Transaction Safely
With all of the issues that may arise during your real estate transaction, you want to be smart with your finances. Check with your expert real estate attorney to be sure none of these issues stop you from enjoying the home, property, or business of your dreams.