The act of buying real estate is complex and drawn out for good reason. The making of such a large investment should not be taken lightly, and there are a number of external considerations that should be double checked before you sign anything.
Do Your Research
Aside from the usual concerns typically associated with buying real estate (does it have the right amount of bedrooms/bathrooms? Is it in a good neighbourhood? Can I afford it?), it’s important to be sure you are actually getting what you pay for. This can be determined simply by doing your research, investigating that everything is as advertised. Before you buy, check whether there are any existing claims or easements over the property, get an independent valuation, and never be afraid to walk away if something isn’t to your liking.
The Difficulty of Easements
An easement is essentially a right of way that an individual, or sometimes the public, has over part of a particular piece of real estate. This allows them to enter your property for the purpose of passing through, either due to an inability to gain access by any other means, or for convenience purposes. An example of this would be if your property backed onto a public park or beach, there may be a pathway that encroaches on your land which pedestrians are entitled to use.
Title and Registration
The easiest way of determining whether there is an easement, or other claim as to right of ownership, on a piece of real estate is by thoroughly checking all title documents. Failing to pick up on this can cause you to pay more than what the property is worth (as an easement would devalue the land to an extent), or tie you up in the complex legal proceedings associated with a conflict as to ownership.
Seek a Second Opinion
Where possible, it is wise to obtain your own independent real estate valuation before going ahead with the purchase. In the event that the buyer does not want you to do this – beware, they may be inflating the value of the property. At the very least you should be comparing the price to other similar real estate sales in the region, and entering into negotiations accordingly. After all, knowledge is power.
Trust Your Instincts
It may feel like after such an intense process that there is no going back. The final thing on your checklist should be to make sure you still want to go through with the purchase. Buying real estate is not easily undone, so before you finalise your decision take a moment and evaluate once and for all if this is really the property for you.