Real Estate

We offer a number of Real Estate services, many for a flat fee, to make your transaction as smooth as possible.

Real Estate Condition Report
Wisconsin law requires that a seller of real estate who has occupied the premises to be sold provide the buyer with a standard Real Estate Condition Report. As to sellers, it is wise to err on the side of disclosure if you have a question as to whether a condition affecting the property constitutes a potential defect. Buyers should carefully review the disclosure and provide a copy of the disclosure to your inspector.

Deed Restrictions And Covenants
Deed restrictions and covenants are far more common in properties or developments that are newer in nature. However, there are often deed restrictions and covenants attendant to older property. These restrictions and covenants can greatly affect the use of your property. Even something as simple as the desire to construct a fence or paint or re-side your home in a different color can be restricted or prohibited by deed restrictions and covenants. Your offer should always include a contingency for review of deed restrictions and covenants.

Appraisal Contingency
While your lender will conduct an appraisal of the home as part of your financing, a separate appraisal contingency affords the purchaser additional protection. ?The financing contingency does not require that the home appraise out at the offer price. By inserting a separate appraisal contingency requiring the home appraisal value is at least the purchase price offered, a buyer can avoid any risk of being committed to purchase a home at a price in excess of a certified appraisal.

Title Insurance
Many real estate firms and lenders have relationships with a particular title company. As a seller, you have the right to choose the Title Insurance Company to issue the policy to the buyer. This is a relevant factor as you will find different companies charge different rates and fees on the same transaction. You can save money by making proper inquiry and “shopping” your businesses.

Title Insurance is now a mode by which a purchaser is advised of the status of the title to the property reference ownership, liens, easements, covenants and restrictions of record, etc. It then insures the title subject to exceptions to your coverage. It is absolutely essential that your attorney review the commitment in advance of the closing to clear any problems with the title in advance of closing. A number of standard exceptions to your title coverage can be “marked up” and removed at closing. It is important to have an attorney who can both explain the commitment and ensure you have the broadest title coverage.

Inspection Contingencies
Attorney Bouvette strongly recommends that any purchaser engage the services of a certified home inspector as part of the transaction. The standard inspection contingency language does not address additional testing, (i.e., radon/lead in older homes, contamination or asbestos issues). The inspection contingency should carefully address the right to have additional tests or inspections as recommended by the initial inspector. These might include a chimney, roof, electrical, or HVAC specialist as examples.

Survey / Use Contingencies
There are occasions where a survey contingency may be an essential part of the Offer to Purchase. Most commonly, this occurs with larger parcels or vacant land. It is important to note that your title insurance will not insure the lot lines or boundaries of your real property in the absence of a current ALTA certified survey. If you have a dispute with an adjoining land owner on a lot line after closing, the insurer will have no obligation to defend you in the absence of a survey.

Financing Contingencies
It is, of course, always advisable for a prospective purchaser to obtain pre approval from a lender prior to commencing the pursuit of a home purchase. This is particularly the case given the current economic climate. The financing contingency is of equal importance to the seller and purchaser. Sellers need to pay attention to the terms of the contingency – not only as to the length but also to ascertain that they have a legitimate and serious prospective purchaser.

Buyers want to present this contingency in the terms most favorable to their economic circumstances. A buyer can always elect to go with a higher percentage rate or lower loan to value ratio than stated in the contingency. In short, the contingency should reflect reasonable yet favorable terms as to amount, term and interest rates.

Both parties need to pay particular attention to the loan commitment language regarding the satisfaction of the contingency. The contractual language often contains caveats whereby the mere issuance of a commitment does not necessarily satisfy the commitment.