Alabama a Buyer Beware State
If you are new to the Huntsville Alabama Real Estate market, hopefully you are already aware that Alabama is a “Buyer Beware” State. The legal term that describes this type of market is Caveat Emptor, which is a Latin phase meaning ‘let the buyer beware’. Thus to Alabama home buyers this phase serves as a warning and notifies them that legally they are purchasing their new home ‘as is’. When a home sale is subject to this warning the purchaser assumes the risk that the product might be either defective or unsuitable to his or her needs.
Since the advent of more recent legal precedents such as those involved with ‘Implied Warranty’ many states have legislated a move away from ‘Buyer Beware’ to Caveat Venditor (i.e. let the seller beware) and require home sellers make a legal disclosure, documenting all known defects of their home. However it is important to remember, this is not a legal requirement in the state of Alabama.
Disclosure of Property Defects
Since seller disclosures are not a legal requirement in our state, it is important that home buyers take a few basic steps to provide themselves this protection within their own purchase offer and make their contract contingent upon acceptable results:
- Request a seller disclosure statement that puts the seller on record of known defects
- Have the home inspected by a professional home inspector for an independent report
- When an HOA is involved formally request a copy of their Convents & Restrictions
- Use a qualified ‘Buyer’s Agent’ that has fiduciary duties to protect your interests
Disclosure of HOA Convents and Restrictions
While a few surrounding states (e.g. Florida & Virginia) do require that Home Owner Association (HOA) convents and restrictions be disclosed to buyers, there is no such law in the state of Alabama. Thus this is something you will want to accomplish through your contact contingencies, and this is even more applicable during economic downturns and when your subdivision of interest is a new neighborhood with new construction ongoing.
During the mortgage crisis over the last few years many horror stories have come to light across the various states that have been the hardest hit. While the Huntsville Real Estate market has performed better than many other local markets around the country, our market is not immune to distressful situations as recent news reports from the Huntsville Times and WHNT 19 bring to light. Discuss these articles here with other local consumers.
If you would like more information on protecting your interests during the home buying process, I can help, just drop me an email or give me a call at 256-325-1659.