Why All The Fuss Over Real Estate Transactions?

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Why doesn't real estate just sell for the asking price instead of having to go thru all the paper work...?

Wouldn't it be easier to just put a price on it and sell it for that price? We don't go thru all of that when purchasing cars or anything else. Where did this practice start?

Land is important, it is immovable, they are not making any more, and it is uniquely identifiable by location. It is used as a basis for taxation, and social status. Not too long ago, the vast majority of the population worked by farming land.

Precisely how much land goes with a parcel, and precisely what the boundaries and limitations are, is critically important. Taking just a few square feet away can mean that it cannot be used for a given purpose. Rights of easement are important to everybody served by that easement. Wars have been fought over simply the right to pass over a piece of land. Zoning disclosures are a real issue with at least twenty percent of all properties, as well as any number of their issues about the condition, permitted uses, boundaries, and appurtenances.

Because of its importance, its permanence, and its value, there has been a lot of fraud committed over land, therefore the systems of title and escrow. Add that to the fact that land is taxed by most governments, and you have the justification for public records systems.

Because of its permanent and immovable nature, banks will loan money against land on better terms than anything else. But since a fair number of people over the years have gotten money for land they don't own, or gotten more money for land than it is worth, the lenders have instituted safeguards such as the appraisal, inspection, and lenders title insurance. It still happens, by the way. Last week I looked a a property in a fantastic location, but really old and run down. By the market, I'd say it was maybe worth $600,000 - but the owners convinced someone to loan them $1.8 million dollars on it.

Every part of the process has a reason it is there. There is no need for anyone who is not a professional to learn them, but the reason those professionals exist is so that you don't have to know what they know - and that runs true for everyone from the escrow officer to the title officer to the agent, and trying to shortcut the process is a recipe for disaster. Just ask the people who got burned, and whose cases are the reasons for all that paperwork and hassle you have to go through to buy or sell a property. And people still get burned today. Most often, it's the people who try to shortcut the process to save a few dollars. "You don't need that appraisal! You're paying cash!" "You don't need that inspection! Solid as a rock!" "You don't need an agent! Trust me!"

There are good solid reasons why you don't want to cut any corners, and why you want a professional working for you every step of the way. Proper disclosure will save you from a lawsuit you wouldn't believe. Proper investigation will stop you from walking in to the problem in the first place, or at least get you some serious concessions if you have a good buyer's agent on your side. And if they fail to do their job properly, it gives you the right to go after their insurance and their broker's bond, and even to sue them to make you whole. By trying to "save money" and cut corners, you could easily find yourself out a much larger amount of money with zero recourse.

Caveat Emptor

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This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on March 7, 2008 7:00 AM.

New Temporary FHA Conforming Loan Limits Announced! was the previous entry in this blog.

Flipping vs Fixing vs Investing is the next entry in this blog.

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