Before you buy real estate in Washington, it's important to know exactly what you're getting into. There are many different laws and guidelines you must follow when you buy or sell a home. Fortunately, you rarely enter into this adventure alone—most people hire a professional real estate agent who knows all the ins and outs of real estate law in Washington.
Before you even jump into the legal aspects of buying any sort of real estate in Washington, you need to know exactly what you want to buy. There's no point in wasting the time and the energy in going through all the red tape if, in the end, you realize that the piece of property either isn't what you need or isn't affordable.
It's a good idea to evaluate each piece of real estate for the things you need. These may include size (especially if you're buying a home), location, price, amenities (is the yard fenced?), and other things important to you.
Once you know what you need, it's time to get out there and find the perfect property for you. This can involve doing searches on your own, but at some point, you'll probably want to hire a real estate agent. They may know of many other properties you might be interested in, plus they can assist you in preparing your offer.
Real estate law is full of legal terms that, if you've never bought or sold real estate before, may confuse you. The first is the offer. This is the amount of money you offer the seller for the property. It does not have to be the price the seller has listed. In fact, it may be significantly less. Your real estate agent will present your offer to the seller in writing. The seller can then reply with a counter-offer. The two of you will go back and forth until you real a mutual agreement.
However, the offer may contain more than just your monetary offer. You can also include things you'd like the seller to fix in your offer (like replace the roof, fix a leaking sink, or replace broken tiles in the kitchen), any closing costs you want the seller to pay, and the date you will officially own the property. All of these are important items to discuss before signing the contract. Once you and the seller have both agreed on the offer, it becomes a legally binding contract that cannot easily be changed.