Taking an action on a whim without consulting your Southern Maryland real estate agent can be hazardous to your pocketbook and your real estate transaction! Any question – no matter how small or difficult to ask – should be run by your agent before you take action.
These three common scenarios show you why you need your real estate agent’s counsel.
“We found a brand new house at Delusional Knolls!”
“We don’t mean to hurt your feelings, but we’re pretty sure we’ll be using that nice real estate agent we met at the sales office – is this a good idea?”
It may seem convenient – the agent is right there in the community where you want to buy, and you’ll be able to pop in whenever and see her. No appointments needed, right?
Before you jump ship, consider this. That agent represents the builder or the developer of that new-home community. How will she do her ethical duties to you and the builder at the same time? You wouldn’t hire your soon-to-be-ex-spouse’s attorney to handle your divorce — why would you hire the builder’s agent and hope that he or she will have your best interests in mind? Dual agency is a fine line to walk for even the most ethical agents.
As a buyer, you pay nothing for the services of a Southern Maryland real estate agent. Be selfish – get your own. That way you’ll know for sure that there is someone in your corner at all points during the process.
Here’s my seller’s disclosure statement. I was so busy I just checked “no” on all the boxes. That’s ok, right?
Oh, yeah, that is totally OK. If you like litigation.
The typical seller’s disclosure statement asks something to this effect: “Are you (seller) aware of any significant defects/malfunctions in any of the following?”
When you check “no” on all the boxes, this means that you aren’t aware that the basement floods every time we have a heavy downpour, despite you making that very clear to me, your agent.
Of course, the buyer, who suffered the loss of all his basement furnishings, will need to prove to a judge that you were aware of and actually concealed the problem. But, since you shared your travails with your buddy across the street, the buyer won’t have to do much digging. Neighbors are frequently deposed in these cases.
Disclosure laws are different from state to state and even in many counties within states. Depending on where you live, if you’re found guilty of concealing material facts about the home, you could be held liable for the buyer’s monetary losses (compensatory damages), be forced to pay punitive damages on top of that and, in rare cases, the buyer is allowed to cancel the purchase and give you back the house.
If the concealed defect results in substantial harm or death to the buyer, you could end up in prison, like the homeowner in Vermont who deliberately failed to disclose a faulty driveway heater to the family of four who purchased the home.
All but one member of that family (an infant) died of carbon monoxide poisoning, the former owner was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to four years in prison.
By the way, in some parts of the country, this duty to disclose may cover up to a 10-year period, post-sale.
We know it is hard it is to expose even the home’s tiniest flaws to the prospective buyer, but to not do so may turn out to be exorbitantly expensive. Take your time with the seller’s disclosure statement, and answer each question honestly.
I can’t believe we’re closing in just two weeks! Did I tell you we’re shopping for furniture and appliances this weekend? We got an awesome financing program for them!
This scenario is so common and so sad. In their excitement in the run-up to closing, many buyers begin to imagine furnishing their new house. Others take steps toward actually buying the furnishings. Don’t make this huge mistake.
Shortly before closing, your lender will likely pull your credit reports again. This process is called a “soft pull” because it doesn’t affect our credit score. This check is the lender’s final assurance that you truly can afford your monthly mortgage payment – and that you will actually make the payment.
When you apply for credit to buy new appliances or furniture, those applications will show up on the soft pull and it will catch the underwriter’s attention. This new credit changes your risk profile, and the new monthly payment for the items you purchased with that credit may change your debt ratios so much that you will no longer qualify for the loan.
This happens in real like, and it is heartbreaking. Don’t apply for any new credit until you close on the house. Don’t make other changes like switching jobs or moving money around to different accounts. Keep your financial situation exactly as it was when you applied for the mortgage.
Stay in touch with your real estate agent throughout the buying process, even if you think what you are about to do is innocent or won’t threaten the process. You never know just how huge that seemingly small decision can turn out to be!
Mechanicsville MD Homes for Sale and Real Estate Services in Southern Maryland. You now have a search engine to help you with your Southern Maryland home search! And I’m ready to provide you with a custom home valuation if you’re considering selling your home. Let’s connect to discuss how I can help you. Contact Kimberly Bean at 301-440-1309