What Buyers Must Do After Signing A Real Estate Contract

It’s an exciting time for a homebuyer when you find the home of your dreams and that final “T” is crossed and the real estate contract is signed. As soon as that happens, however, there are steps that a buyer must take right away.

Real Estate contract

Here is a quick checklist for after the contract is signed:

1. Fund the escrow account. If you didn’t put your full deposit amount into your attorney’s escrow account when you signed the contract, you’ll need to do that as soon as possible.

2. Order an inspection. A typical real estate contract gives a buyer a set amount of time—usually a week or two—to have the property inspected. If the inspection turns up too many problems and you wish to back out, this can be done only during the specified timetable. Therefore, the first call you should make after a seller agrees to the deal (even before your best friend!) is to a qualified inspector. Depending on the terms of the contract, you might also be able to seek concessions from the seller or have him fix the problems uncovered if you have the inspection done during this window.

3. Start the process of getting a mortgage. Ideally, even before you signed the contract you received a pre-qualification letter from a lender. This doesn’t guarantee they will give you the loan, however, so as soon as the contract is signed you will want to work with a mortgage broker or bank to officially apply for the loan and to lock in the terms and the interest rate. Again, this must be done quickly, especially since any “finance clause” in the contract allowing you to cancel the deal if your loan falls through usually has an expiration date. During the loan application process, the bank will also order an appraisal to make sure the home is worth the purchase price.

4. Apply for condo or homeowner’s approval. If the home you will be buying is in a community that requires approval before you can purchase, you’ll need to get and submit the application and any supporting documentation right away, because this process can be lengthy. Many associations charge a small fee for this process.

5. Dive into the docs. Under Florida law, after the contract is signed a buyer in a condo has 3 days (excluding weekends and legal holidays) to nullify the contract after receiving a complete set of the Declaration and all amendments, by laws, and other documents governing the association. There’s a lot to read, but you should comb through them with care; you may not want to buy into a development whose docs do not allow a pet or a home business, say, if these are important to you.

Having the Law Offices of Gary M. Landau by your side during each step in a real estate deal helps insure that the process goes smoothly. For more information about your real estate contract in South Florida, call 954-979-6566 or email for a free consultation. Attorney Gary Landau personally returns all calls to him.



Why a Lawyer Should Review Your Real Estate Contract

Real Estate ContractIn Florida it is often customary for a Realtor to make an offer without having a lawyer review the contract. I urge buyers and sellers to write “subject to my attorney’s review within 3 business days” into such a contract, and then get it to a lawyer pronto. Too often, clients come to me with a contract that can’t be renegotiated, yet it contains provisions they don’t like or understand. Many attorneys, myself included, will waive their fee for reviewing a contract when they are hired as the closing agent on the deal.

Here’s what I look for when reviewing this important agreement:

  • Does it become a cash deal if the buyer can’t get financing? In many deals, buyers have a limited window to get out of a deal. If their financing falls through after that timetable, they are obligated to buy the property for cash (or lose their deposit). If a buyer can’t get the seller to agree to a more generous financing contingency, he should at least try to extend the time period for when he can walk.
  • What happens if a special assessment is issued before the closing? Who pays it—the buyer, the seller or some sort of split? Contracts differ on this point and can be negotiated in your favor. Paying attention to this clause can minimize the prospect for a fight should the association slap on a special assessment, which can delay the closing and, in some cases, scuttle the deal and lead to lawsuits.
  • How long is the inspection period? This is the time buyers have to get the home inspected and to void the deal if they are unhappy with the results. I have seen these range in contracts from 5 business days to 15 days or more. Since it can be tough to get a certified inspector to a property on short notice, buyers should not agree to timetables that are too tight.

For a free consultation on how the Law Offices of Gary Landau can assist you with your real estate transaction, contact us by email or call 954-979-6566. Attorney Gary Landau personally returns all calls to him.