The Process, Step-by-Step
The Initial Agreement and Deposit.
A purchase and sale contract is a legal agreement between a potential purchaser and the property’s seller.
Some important tips to keep in mind to streamline the process:
- The state of Vermont requires all contracts to be in writing. Verbal agreements including counter-offers and addendums will be converted to written agreements to be signed by both parties. We will assist you in all the paperwork for your purchase and make sure that you have copies of everything.
- Stick to the schedule. Now that you have chosen your offer, you and the seller will need to be aware of all time lines that mark every stage in the process of closing the real estate contract. Meeting the requirements on time ensures a smoother flow of negotiations so that each party involved is not in breach of their agreements. During the process our team will keep you constantly updated, so you will always be prepared for the next step.
Your attorney will research the complete recorded history of the property to ensure that the title is free and clear of encumbrances by the date of closing and that all new encumbrances are properly added to the title. Some properties are subject to restrictions which limit various activities such as building or parking restrictions. There may be recorded easements and encroachments, which limit the rights to use your property.
How to Hold Title.
You will want to consult with your attorney or tax advisor on the best way to hold title. Different methods of holding title have different legal, estate and tax implications, especially when selling or upon death of the title holder.
Once your offer is accepted by the seller, now is the time to do the inspections agreed upon in the contract. Whether that is having a licensed property inspector inspect the property or having other inspectors who specialize in a specific area (eg. roof, HVAC, structure). The seller will also be working through the inspections you asked them to do in the contract, and will provide an invoice to you.
Depending on the outcome of these inspections, one of two things may happen:
1. Either each milestone is successfully closed and the contingencies will be removed, bringing you one step closer to the close, or
2. The buyer, after reviewing the property and the papers, requests a renegotiation of the terms of contract (usually the price).
3. They may cancel due to an unsatisfactory inspection.
Appraisal and Lending.
It is imperative that you keep in close communication with your lender, who will let you know when additional documents are needed to approve your loan application and fund your loan. If the agreement is conditional upon financing, then the property will typically be appraised by a licensed appraiser to determine the value for the lending institution, via a third party. This is done so that the lending institution can confirm their investment in your property is accurate. Appraisers are specialists in determining the value of properties, based on a combination of square footage measurements, building costs, recent sales of comparable properties, operating income, etc. As you approach closing, double check with your lender to be sure they have all the necessary paperwork and documents from you.
Associations and Resale Certificates.
If the property that you are purchasing is part of an association or conditional upon an association approval, the State Resale Certificate will include legal documents of how the association operates. It will outline the rules and regulations along with provide meeting minutes and financials. You will receive within 10 days and have 5 days to cancel. If you need legal clarity your attorney can assist.
If you are obtaining a loan, you will be required by your lender to purchase a certain amount of insurance on the property. The value will depend on the lending institution and the purchase price of the property. You may be able to save hundreds of dollars a year on homeowners insurance by shopping around for insurance. You can also save money with these tips.
- Consider a security system
- Find out where the closest fire station is
We will be happy to recommend experienced knowledgeable insurance agents for every property type.