Information about the Buying Process

Seller Responsibility

It is the Seller's obligation to disclose any negative information about the property they are selling.  The Seller is required to disclose all facts materially affecting the value or desirability of the property which are known or accessible only to them. This includes: homeowners association dues, whether or not work done on the house meets local building codes and permits requirements, any problems with any structural, building component or mechanical system of the home and any pending legal or municipal filings affecting the property.

What are Contingencies?
Most purchase offers include two standard contingencies: a financing contingency, which makes the sale dependent upon the buyers' ability to obtain a loan from a lender, and an inspection contingency, which allows buyers to have professionals inspect the property to their satisfaction. 

Other contingencies can include an appraisal contingency or a contingency based on the sale of your current home.  

Do I need an attorney when I buy a house?
It depends upon the complexity of the offer.  If the seller has several important contingencies to include in the negotiations, we want to have an attorney read over all documents and advise us.  However, Texas real estate contract documents are designed so that the typical home purchase can be completed without the Buyer needing an attorney.  

Most home buyers are capable of handling routine real estate purchase contracts as long as they make certain they read the fine print and understand all the terms of the contract. In particular, you should be clear on the terms of any contingency clauses that will allow them to back out of the contract. If you have any questions at all, it may be advisable to consult an attorney to avoid future legal hassles. In looking for an attorney, ask friends for recommendations or ask your real estate agent to recommend several. Call to inquire about fees and to check on their experience. In general, more experienced attorneys will cost more, but real estate fees as a rule are small relative to the cost of the property you are buying.

What repairs should a Seller make?
In Texas, a residential real estate contract has a clause that allows the Buyer the "unrestricted right" to back out of the contract within a negotiated period of time (the option period) after signing the contract.  During this time, the Buyer will inspect the house, compile a list of repairs they want completed prior to sale and send the Seller the list in the form of an Amendment to the Contract.  The Seller may agree to complete the repairs, complete some of the repairs or pay for the Buyer to complete the repairs after closing.  Essentially, the contract is being re-negotiated, and, if it does not meet the Buyer's expectations or needs, the Buyer may terminate the contract without questions asked.  This is a great incentive for the Seller to agree to complete all or most of the repairs the Buyer has asked for.

Do sellers have to disclose the terms of other offers on their house?
No.  And they won't.  Sellers are not legally obligated to disclose the terms of other offers to prospective buyers.

How do I get the real scoop on homes I am looking at?

Home inspections, the Seller's Disclosure Statements, title searches, MLS sales history, the tax history, neighborhood sales history and our professional experience will help you understand a home and its neighborhood.  It is as simple as that.  We have to do our due diligence on the home you are thinking of moving your family into.

Steve Ritchey
Steve Ritchey
Exclusive Buyer Broker