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Insider Advice on Buying Your Home: An Interview with Peter Van Dyke of EDVF, LLP Attorneys at Law

By Peter Dyke

Tell us a little bit about your experience, firm's history and the areas of law that you practice.

Our firm collectively has over 75 years of experience in handling real estate matters, disputes, and closings. Our firm is made up of four experienced attorneys who not only have experience handling real estate matters, but additionally handle personal injury disputes, commercial litigation, and estate planning. This diverse background allows our attorneys to get to the heart of your legal issue and offer advice geared toward a number of different legal areas.

Our firm represents individuals purchasing their first home, selling their home, refinancing their home, as well as individuals involved in complex real estate legal issues including condominiums and multi-family homes. We additionally represent creditors looking to foreclose on delinquent properties and additionally represent landlords with tenant disputes.

What are the main advantages of working with a real estate lawyer when you're buying or selling a home (or residential property)?

A real estate lawyer understands the process of purchasing and selling a home, and will assist you not only in navigating the complex paperwork, but in ensuring that no mistakes are made in any contracts. While most real estate documents are drafted for the buyer's and seller's ease, other steps along the way may require an experienced real estate attorney. Our firm provides guidance to buyers and sellers from the initial stages of a home sale, including the inspection, HOA paperwork review, and title search. As a seller of property, you additionally want to make sure that you have proper title to your property and there are no potential hindrances to a sale. Our attorneys will review all paperwork associated with a home sale and redraft as necessary.

What is a lawyer's role in a typical purchase and sales agreement, and how long does the process usually take from start to finish?

A purchase and sales agreement is a binding contract, so we encourage our clients to consult with us before signing a purchase and sales agreement. In Hartford County, realtors typically use the Greater Hartford Association of Realtors, Inc.'s Real Estate Purchase Contract. We prefer for our clients to use this contract. It provides a clear explanation of the rights and responsibilities of the buyer and the seller. From the buyer's perspective, it is important to be conscious of a couple of important dates- the Mortgage Contingency Date and the Inspection Contingency Date. If certain conditions are not met by these dates, the buyer is generally able to terminate the purchase and sales agreement, and get his/her deposit back, provided he/she does so within the time limits, and in the manner, set forth in the contract.

What, if anything, can a buyer do to help make sure the sale goes smoothly?

A buyer may expedite the process by pulling their credit report prior to making an offer and collecting all important documentation, such as check stubs from work. Communication is essential with both the closing attorney and lender. We have a dedicated real estate paralegal to walk buyers through the purchase process.

What are some of the top things that you've seen go wrong during the purchase and sale process?

One of the major mistakes that buyers make is failing to observe the dates set forth in the Mortgage Contingency Date and the Inspection Contingency Date. Too often, we receive calls from buyers attempting to terminate their purchase and sales agreement because they couldn't get financing or because of inspection issues, but the buyers failed to terminate the purchase and sales agreement in a timely and proper manner.

What advice would you give to people who want to buy a new house?

Buying a new house is more than just purchasing a property structure, but involves purchasing a home for your family to grow in. You want to be cautious not to rush into anything without the consultation of an experienced real estate attorney. An improper inspection can cost you thousands of dollars down the road after the purchase of your property. Even more critical, an improper title search may cost your house when an undiscovered property owner shows up to take possession. An experienced real estate attorney will ensure that no stone is left unturned when it comes to the matter of researching a property's legal background.

What's the best way for people to reach you and your firm?

If you have any questions and would like to further discuss your real estate situation, do not hesitate to contact our West Hartford office through at 860-232-7200. You can also learn more about our firm at www.eddf-law.com.

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About The Author

I focus my practice on real estate, complex civil litigation, consumer class actions,...

Phone: 860-232-7200

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