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Maine Residential Real Estate

For many American homeowners, their home is their single largest financial purchase and investment. As such, it is predictable that Maine homeowners fiercely protect the value of this large asset. During real estate transactions, whether as buyer or seller, many Maine property-owners find that partnering with a real estate agent and residential real estate attorney helps them navigate the transaction more smoothly, circumvent challenges and minimize damages that might result, and maximize their return on investment for their homes. Residential real estate lawyers bring a wealth of experience, knowledge, planning, training, and legal acumen to the table for all aspects of home ownership, from pre-purchase to purchase and beyond.

Core Components of a Maine Residential Real Estate Transaction

Maine residential real estate lawyers recognize that the purchase of a residence or investment property is a major investment, especially in today's volatile economic climate. The objective of these attorneys is to ensure a client's transaction proceeds smoothly and that the client's legal rights are sufficiently protected.

Residential real estate legal practices are localized and state-specific and tend to vary, even if slightly, from one jurisdiction to another. There are some core components to real estate transactions in Maine that every homeowner or prospective homeowner facing such a major life investment should review in advance of entering the process:

  • Purchase and Sale Agreement: A real estate contract in Maine needs to be in writing. Often, the contract is called a Purchase and Sale Agreement. This document defines the sale terms, such as buyer names, seller names, price, property description and location, and date of closing. This is a key part of every transaction. A written sales contract is essential whether the parties conduct the sale themselves or with the assistance of a real estate agent.
  • Deed: This written document is prepared, signed, and recorded at the local Registry of Deeds. It serves to convey the title to the real estate from the seller to the buyer. This document details the seller and buyer, describes the real estate, and limits and conditions (if any) on use of the property.
  • Mortgage: This written document creates a lien on the property to secure the payment of the property's sale price. Mortgages in Maine are recorded in the land records at the Registry of Deeds. They are not released from the title of the property until the lender or mortgagor is fully paid. Mortgages can be held by private individuals or institutional lenders. Typically, a mortgage is coupled with a promissory note that depicts the loan's terms. The promissory note sets forth the interest rate, payments, due dates, and default terms. Promissory notes are not recorded in the Registry of Deeds.
  • Closing: This is a meeting held between the property's buyers and sellers. At this session, they or their representatives exchange the deed and keys for the sale price proceeds. All other documents associated with the real estate transaction and mortgage loan are executed at this session, too.
  • Title Search: This process is used to ascertain whether the property being purchased is owned legally by the seller. It reveals any mortgages or liens against the subject property. It also shows whether there are any property restrictions that impact use of the property, such as zoning or environmental considerations. A title search is performed by conducting a search of land records at the Registry of Deeds. Attorneys and their teams review the particular records related to the property. Under Maine law, parties may select their title attorney without added expense to them, even if their mortgage lender would prefer they use an alternate attorney or title company. This Maine law was enacted because the title search and title process are such core aspects of a residential real estate transaction.
  • Title Insurance: This is an insured statement detailing the condition of the title and rights to ownership of the subject property, prepared for the buyer. This insurance guarantees a buyer will truly own the property he or she intends to purchase after closing because the property's title is free and clear of liens and any other forms of encumbrance or defect. Title insurance protects buyers from unreported encumbrances and defects. Insured parties receive legal defense in Maine courts from their title insurer at the insurer's expense, if there are defects. They also get their title amended, corrected, and/or cleared, when possible, and are compensated by the title insurer for any losses associated with title defects. Mortgage lenders will not lend purchase money for homes without title insurance in place because banks recognize and appreciate the importance of this component in the overall real estate process.

Maine Real Estate Professionals Warn Homebuyers to Avoid These Missteps

Maine residential real estate lawyers and real estate agents regularly provide guidance to prospective home purchasers, including these suggested actions to avoid when entering the home-buying marketplace:

  • Avoid last-minute changes in employment. Changing jobs and losing the benefit of continuity in an employment history is damaging when attempting to secure financing from mortgage lenders
  • Avoid moving money between accounts, banks, assets, or investments. Sudden, erratic movements on the eve of a home purchase appear suspect to mortgage lenders
  • Avoid major purchases, such as rooms of furnishings, large vacations, cars, or expensive jewelry. Prospective lenders carefully review debt-to-income ratios and payments you make regularly for large-ticket items like vehicles, credit cards expenditures, rent or mortgage.

Locate a Local Maine Residential Real Estate Lawyer Today

Maine residential real estate attorney represent clients, whether buyers or sellers, pre-sale, during a sale, post-sale, and in any subsequent litigation arising out of the sale of real estate.  A Maine-based residential real estate attorney can direct clients on how to smoothly and efficiently navigate the entirety of a real estate transaction. These lawyers are adept at working in tandem with real estate agents, inspectors, appraisers, and title examiners in offering a full panoply of services to their clientele. Call now to speak with a residential real estate attorney in Maine at 877-913-7222.