The courts are littered with cases full of people who didn’t “read the fine print.” While fine print might now be technically unenforceable (contracts can’t hide terms, terms must be legible, etc.), the onus is still on you to read and understand what you are signing. The last thing you want is your latest business deal to become a case study for law students and MBAs on what not to do during a real estate transaction. This is where a real estate attorney in Santa Rosa can step in and help.
- Understand the contract
First, make sure you understand the contract. In a perfect world, you would retain a real estate attorney in Santa Rosa to review the contract and explain any ambiguous terms. However, even if you cannot afford an attorney, you should review the contract nevertheless and research any terms or phrases you don’t understand – don’t rely on the other party to explain them for you.
- Review attached documents
Second, review all of the attached documents. If you are signing a real estate deal, you probably need to initial 100 documents and sign at least two dozen. Yes, it is tedious, but you must review each of those attached documents as if they were the actual terms.
When you are reviewing documents, pay attention to any disclosures. In a real estate exchange, the seller must disclose to the buyer “latent defects.” A latent defect is anything that is wrong with the property which you could not reasonably discover on your own, therefore, you may collect damages from the seller for what you spend to correct the defect. For example, an eight-foot hole in one of the walls – probably – would not count as a defect. However, if the property has code violations or liens against it, that would likely count as a latent defect. In the real world, the seller will likely disclose all defects in the transaction and would require you to sign acknowledgments (disclosures) of the defects.
Finally, in addition to signing disclosures, the seller will likely include the waiver. The waiver means that you hold the seller harmless for any costs – it means you cannot sue them for damages.
If you are engaging in a major transaction, you may want to retain a real estate attorney in Santa Rosa to assist you. For advice, recommendations or more information on how Johnston | Thomas can help, get in touch with our attorneys today.