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What Home Buyers Should Know

Legal Requirements

Virginia Law requires that in order to be enforceable, all contracts for property must be in writing. There is a contract form that can be shown to you. The form a REALTOR® recommends you to use can be modified in any way to accommodate the needs of the parties. You have the right to legal counsel and may seek such at any point.

Financing & Insurance

Mortgage rates and associated charges vary with financial institutions in the marketplace. You have the right to select a lender and the right to negotiate terms and conditions of the loan. Such terms may be subject to the lender's requirements. Once the seller and you have agreed on the terms of the contract, you may not change the loan terms without the written consent of the seller. The lender will require you, the purchaser, to buy hazard insurance on the property from the insurance company of your choice, subject to the lender's approval, and may possibly require that you purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI). You will also be required to purchase lender's title insurance, and you may wish to purchase owner's title insurance.

Master Plans

In your purchase offer, you can include the right to review the applicable master plan for the location in which you intend to make your purchase, including maps showing planned land uses, roadways and highways, and the location and nature of proposed parks and other public facilities. This can be viewed at the various jurisdiction-planning offices and at some local libraries.

Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials could affect properties you may inspect as a potential purchaser. REALTORS® generally do not have the technical expertise to advise you as to whether or not such materials are present. Information pertaining to hazardous substances is available from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), or the Virginia Department of Health. For further information, you can contact local health departments, the Virginia State Department of Health, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (example: Radon Hotline @ 1-800-SOS-RADON). As a condition of a purchase offer, and at your expense, you may include the right to employ experts to inspect the property for various conditions and to provide an analysis of possible hazardous materials within that property, if such an inspection clause so specifies.

Condition of the Property

As a purchaser, you have the right to include in your purchase offer a provision to employ, at your expense, an expert or experts of your choice to inspect all components of the property including the soil and provide you an analysis of its condition. If you desire to have a pre-settlement or pre-occupancy final walk through inspection of the property, it is advisable to include such a statement in your purchase offer.

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