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Self-schedule or reschedule your examination date, print a license certificate, renew a license, change of address. Advice for Examinees Information every examinee needs to know before applying for the real estate exam. Exam scheduling and availability criteria, locations, exam format by location.

List reflecting subdivider compliance with locally administered laws and ordinances. Please enable JavaScript before continuing or you will experience website problems. This Google translation feature is provided for informational purposes only as DRE is unable to guarantee the accuracy of this translation. As an agent, a real estate broker or salesperson has duties and obligations to the person who hired him or her.


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If an agreement to purchase the property is made, that agreement is strictly between the seller and buyer, and the broker is not a party to that agreement and generally makes no promises about the property. The agreement to sell between a real estate buyer and seller is governed by the general principles of contract law.

The statute of frauds requires that real property contracts be in writing. Title to real estate must be marketable to be free from liability, which means that it must be free and clear of all encumbrances, liens, clouds, litigation risks, or other title defects. To ensure marketable title, the buyer typically employs an attorney or a title insurance company to perform a title search. In a title search, the searcher examines the public records in the county in which a property is located to map a chain of title by examining all the recorded deeds concerning the property.

The title searcher will also determine if there are any encumbrances on the property, such as mortgages, unpaid real estate taxes, liens for municipal improvements, unpaid Federal taxes, government claims, legal judgments, foreclosures, condemnations, covenants, and easements. To pass title, the seller must execute and deliver a deed with a proper description of the land. Many states require that the deed be officially recorded to establish ownership of the property and to provide notice of its transfer to subsequent purchasers.

The most common method of financing a real estate transaction is through a loan secured by a mortgage on the property. A mortgage involves the transfer of an interest in land as security for an obligation. A borrower typically repays a mortgage in installments that include both interest and principal payments. Failure to pay the mortgage debt once foreclosure occurs results in the sale of the property to satisfy any remaining mortgage debt.

The actual foreclosure process depends on state law, the terms of the mortgage, and whether other liens exist on the property. Many states allow late payments to avoid foreclosure, and many lenders attempt to work out a payment plan to avoid a foreclosure.

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Real estate transactions and disputes involve many laws, which vary greatly from state to state. If you are buying or selling real estate or are involved in a dispute regarding real estate, it is in your best interest to get in touch with an experienced real estate attorney to ensure that your rights are protected. Real estate law includes lots of jargon and legalese that can be intimidating or at least confusing.

An attorney with experience in real estate law can help a buyer or seller understand the terms and concepts pervasive in real estate transactions. Read on to learn more about the terminology of this specialized area. Appraisal: An appraisal is the estimate of value of real property made by a third party not involved in the transaction.

Appraisals usually involve comparing the sales price to the value of similar properties in the area. Mortgage lenders typically require an appraisal before they will make a loan.

Closing Documents to Keep When Buying a Home

Assessment: An assessment is a charge for improvements made by the local government that are beneficial to adjoining property. Sidewalks and road work are common examples of improvements which give rise to an assessment charge. Property owners who receive a benefit from the improvement are assessed a proportional share of the cost of the improvement.

Closing: A closing sometimes called a settlement , is the last stage of a real estate transaction. At the closing, the buyer finalizes his or her mortgage and pays any closing costs for which he or she is responsible, while the seller finalizes and hands over the deed and the keys to the property. Condominium: Condominium condo owners own their individual residential unit and also have a right to use the common areas in the development, which are owned by the condominium association.

The association maintains the property, pays taxes and insurance, and deals with improvements. A condo owner will probably have to pay association fees in addition to mortgage payments. Contract for Deed: A contract for deed allows a seller to keep legal ownership of property while the buyer uses the property and makes monthly payments until the purchase amount is paid.

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Deed: A deed is a document that transfers an interest in real property. A warranty deed is a deed in which the seller promises that the title to the land is good and complete.

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A quit claim deed transfers only the rights that the transferor has, with no promise that the transferor has full title or that there are no liens against the land. Foreclosure: When a homeowner defaults by failing to make payments on his or her mortgage, the bank or financial institution that holds the mortgage note may foreclose on the property. Foreclosure gives the legal ownership of a property to the bank to allow the bank to recoup its investment. Foreclosure proceedings vary by state but usually involve court appearances to ensure the foreclosure is warranted.

Mortgage Loan: A mortgage loan is a loan secured by the real estate the loan is allowing the buyer to purchase.

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Mortgage terms may allow for fixed or adjustable interest rates or may include balloon payments. The functioning, legal effect, and foreclosure of mortgages vary greatly from state to state. Mortgage lenders must also give borrowers a fair estimate of the service charges for which he or she may be responsible.

Survey: A survey is a mapping of land boundaries, improvements, and easements on real property. A lender will frequently require a survey of property, especially commercial or un-platted property, and will require the parties to address any irregularities that show up on the survey. Title Insurance and Title Opinions: Title insurance protects against title defects not excluded by the policy.


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Title insurance, a title opinion, or both can help a buyer to feel comfortable with the validity of the title. A real estate buyer or seller will encounter most, if not all, of the above topics when involved in a real estate transaction. Each of the above topics is complex, with details that vary greatly from state to state and transaction to transaction.

An attorney who has experience in real estate law can help a buyer or seller interpret and analyze the application of all of the laws related to the above topics to his or her transaction. A deed is an unassuming and usually short piece of paper that has a big legal impact.

Some issues can crop up later. The purchase agreement is your contract to buy the home, setting forth all the terms and conditions required for closing. It's the document you and the seller signed when you agreed to buy the property, and both parties are legally obligated to abide by its terms.

California Brokers Disclosure Requirements on Property Defects to Home Buyers

Addendums, amendments, or riders include anything that alters or amends the terms of your original purchase contract. These types of document might clarify the names on title or the spelling of the seller's or buyer's name. They might correct a street address. Requests for repair record any monetary agreements or contracts to repair items, and they might be considered addendums to the purchase agreement.

A repair addendum specifies the particular type of work to be completed. It could spell out whether the work will require a permit or if it must be performed by a licensed contractor.


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Seller disclosures include material facts about things like lead-based paint. They might include a transfer disclosure statement, and other written warranties, guarantees, or disclosures that the seller provides. These documents are often the basis for future lawsuits against sellers when they fail to disclose an issue that becomes apparent later. Escrow instructions often supersede the purchase contract and spell out the financial terms and conditions of the agreement between buyers and sellers.

They authorize an escrow agent to perform specific acts on behalf of the parties involved. The summary of the home inspector's findings will point out which items are in good condition and which are in need of repair or replacement. It should include photos. It can be a negotiating tool during the sale, and it can later provide a checklist of necessary repairs. The pest inspection and completion certificate is a report from the inspection company that certifies that the work has been completed.

Not every state requires a pest inspection, but others, such as California, require that they be kept on file for two years. Other inspections and work-related documents could include contractor invoices and permits. The closing disclosure includes all the estimated costs for your mortgage, laid out in a manner that you might not understand even though the government tries to make it simple for you. Ask questions about any fees you're uncertain about, and keep the disclosure on hand for tax time.