What Happens if I Get Cold Feet when Buying a Home?

 

Another question came in from one of our viewers this week “What happens if I’m under contract to purchase a home and I simply get cold feet?”

In short: it depends. The answer is determined by Massachusetts law. Hopefully you are not relying on your lender’s attorney who reviewed you purchase and sale agreement as a convenience. You will need your own attorney who can guide and counsel you through this process. You are now potentially in litigation and could forfeit your entire deposit.

Taking a step back, it is important that we recognize how you may have gotten to the point of “cold feet.” Buying a house is a major investment. The market is volatile and with its highs and lows is exciting. Although exciting, it is important that you do not become intoxicated by the whirlwind of buying a house.

Be certain when purchasing a home. Educate yourself as a buyer before beginning such a serious process. Find an attorney that will represent your best interest and not just the bank’s. It will be their goal to lead you to a successful conclusion.

From the seller’s perspective, it is not a good idea to be testing the market without an actual intention to sell. With the market being so active at times, you may think to yourself that you could potentially get a lot for your house. When you are not sure you are ready to move, but put your house on the market anyway, you are wasting everyone’s time, including your real estate professional’s. Ultimately this could lead to being sued by the buyer.

If you have any questions about selling your home, contact Stiles Law by calling (781) 319-1900.

Copyright © 2019 Stiles Law, All rights reserved. Stiles Law is a Massachusetts licensed law firm and all content is based on Massachusetts law. The information presented above is meant to be used for general informational purposes and it should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts.

What is the MLC?

 

We received another question from a viewer this week asking, “What is the MLC?” MLC is an acronym that is used frequently in real estate law for Municipal Lien Certificate.

While performing due diligence before purchasing a home, buyers should verify that real estate taxes are paid. The MLC is delivered by the city or town and is their way of certifying to the buyer that real estate taxes and other municipal charges against the property are paid.

The MLC will include the location and the current owner, the due date of the tax payments, the annual amount of real estate taxes and other municipal charges, and whether taxes are due quarterly or semi-annually. Most importantly, the MLC will state how much is due to pay all outstanding taxes and charges.

Usually, the closing attorney will order this MLC. The city or town charges a small fee before issuing the certificate. The closing attorney will have the MLC recorded with the registry of deeds. Recording the MLC should prevent a city or town from claiming any taxes not disclosed on the MLC are due against the property.

If you have any questions about selling your home, contact Stiles Law by calling (781) 319-1900.

Copyright © 2019 Stiles Law, All rights reserved. Stiles Law is a Massachusetts licensed law firm and all content is based on Massachusetts law. The information presented above is meant to be used for general informational purposes and it should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts.

Should I Do Yard Work Before Selling My Home?

 

Now that it’s autumn, we all have a bit more yard work to do. We received another question from a viewer this week, “I’m selling my house and I have a lot to do. I don’t really have time for yard work. Do I need to rake my leaves?”

In short: it depends. As a legal matter, we must consider what Massachusetts contract law requires: what did you agree to do? Purchase and Sale Agreements often contain a “Broom-Clean Condition” or “Continuing Maintenance” provision. These paragraphs dictate what the seller is expected to do prior to closing. Those paragraphs will create clear obligations for the seller and should be followed closely.

As a buyer, you may be wondering if you can make the seller do a fall clean-up before you move in. We think it is a good idea to change the word from “make” to “ask.” Everything is negotiable and it never hurts to ask. You may be surprised that your sellers are happy to accommodate.

If you have any questions about selling your home, contact Stiles Law by calling (781) 319-1900.

Copyright © 2019 Stiles Law, All rights reserved. Stiles Law is a Massachusetts licensed law firm and all content is based on Massachusetts law. The information presented above is meant to be used for general informational purposes and it should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts.

Do You Need a Mortgage Contingency?

 

We received another question from a viewer: “What is the difference between a mortgage contingency and a mortgage commitment?”

A mortgage commitment is a written promise to lend a borrower money once certain conditions are satisfied.

A mortgage contingency is a provision in an offer and purchase and sale agreement which allows a buyer to terminate the contract, with the return of buyer’s deposit, if the buyer is unable to secure a mortgage commitment on or before a certain date. This term is included with the offer and is an important term of the contract.

A lender will ask any borrower for many important documents. It is critical for a borrower to deliver those documents as quickly as possible. By responding quickly, the borrower has increased the chances of an early mortgage commitment or understanding what additional information or documents may be necessary. Many lenders will check a borrower’s creditworthiness early in the process; however, before issuing a commitment to lend, the lender will underwrite the loan to verify many aspects of the borrower’s qualifications including the borrower’s income, debt obligations, employment history, credit score, and much more. A borrower should never lie to their loan officer. In most cases, the loan officer will already know the truth.

A successful borrower will provide their lender all of the requested documents as quickly as possible to receive a mortgage commitment before the mortgage contingency date and to avoid unnecessary delays. When a commitment has not issued before the mortgage contingency date, the buyer’s attorney usually must ask for an extension on the mortgage contingency date. This can cause all parties involved to become anxious. The seller may begin to think that this transaction will not occur and may consider looking for a new buyer.

Try your best to get everything to the lender as quickly as possible. Your loan can then be approved in expedited manner which helps to keep the transaction stress free.

If you have any questions about mortgage contingencies, contact Stiles Law by calling (781) 319-1900.

Copyright © 2019 Stiles Law, All rights reserved. Stiles Law is a Massachusetts licensed law firm and all content is based on Massachusetts law. The information presented above is meant to be used for general informational purposes and it should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts.

Buying with a Home Sale Contingency

 

We received another question from a viewer this week: “Mark, I’m thinking about purchasing a home, but I really need to sell my home. Is it possible to do that?”

Yes, it is. With so many transactions occurring, it is very common that a buyer will make an offer to purchase real estate subject to selling their home first. Most sellers understand that most buyers cannot buy a new home without first selling their current home.

Buyers should be careful to make sure the language in the contingency is very clear. It is not unusual to see accepted offers with home sale contingencies that are unclear and do not protect the buyer.

We recommend drafting the contingency to include language similar to: “The purchase of [property] is specifically subject to the sale of [property] and the receipt of the proceeds from that sale.”

We often see contingencies that provide buyers with a certain amount of time to have their home under agreement. What happens if that transaction goes sour? We like to have a contingency that says the buyer’s obligation to purchase arises only if the buyer’s house has been sold and the proceeds have been received.

If you have any questions about a buying with a contingency, contact Stiles Law by calling (781) 319-1900.

Copyright © 2019 Stiles Law, All rights reserved. Stiles Law is a Massachusetts licensed law firm and all content is based on Massachusetts law. The information presented above is meant to be used for general informational purposes and it should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts.