Residential Real Estate Purchasers
Virginia is a “Buyer Beware” state. Once the Real Estate purchase has closed, if the Buyer finds something he or she doesn’t like, very little can be done unless clearly fraudulent actions can be proven. (One action held to be fraudulent by a Virginia court was the Seller installing a false interior basement wall to hide the basement wall which was moldy and crumbling.)
Real Estate Buyers in Virginia need to take actions to protect themselves and to learn as much as possible about the property before they close, and their deed is recorded. Their contract should provide for a home inspection by someone of their choosing, with the ability to terminate the contract if, in their sole opinion, the property is not satisfactory. They can then negotiate with the Seller to fix, at the Seller’s expense, deficiencies found if they choose to do so.
Additionally, a Real Estate Buyer, especially a Buyer who is paying cash and not using a bank to borrow a substantial part of the purchase price, needs to order an appraisal from an independent appraiser. Although tax assessed values are typically realistic in Virginia, an appraiser will provide the most accurate value.
Real Estate Buyers should also examine, or retain an attorney to examine, easements across the property, restrictions regarding zoning regulations, especially if they wish to keep animals on the property, and, if the property is in a subdivision, review Covenants and Restrictions to make sure they find them acceptable.
Finally, a Real Estate Buyer should order an Owner’s Title Insurance Policy to protect against title defects that may be identified at a later date such as a building encroaching on a neighbor’s property or a lack of a signature on an earlier deed. Once a title examiner has completed the title abstract and the title binder has been prepared, Buyers should have an attorney review the title binder, especially the exclusions from coverage section to make sure they are receiving the coverage they expect.