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Understanding the transfer of property in Maryland

Maryland property owners or potential homebuyers who choose to participate in a real estate transaction may deal with a number of professionals throughout the process. Many might do business with a qualified real estate broker. However, it can be important to insure that the professional is licensed to provide brokerage services by the state. The licensure is generally offered through the state's real estate commission.

During a real estate transaction, purchase agreements must be made in writing. In typical real estate transactions, there is an agent representing the buyer and an agent representing the seller. The state regulates the actions that these agents are allowed to perform. The state maintains no laws about how much time the seller has to respond to a purchase for the transfer of property. If the buyer elects to make an earnest deposit, the real estate broker must hold the funds in a separate trust.

Homeowners and borrowers must be sure they understand the terms of the contract before signing. Buyers and sellers are entitled to receive copies of all documents related to the real estate transaction. These documents may include information about easements, reciprocal easement agreements, environmental issues, loan transaction documents, permit issues and pre-closing work.

The transfer of property must conform to all state laws. This is true for the actions of the buyer, the seller and the lender. In situations where there is a short sale agreement or the seller is selling property for less than its balance of debts secured by liens, a thorough review of all documentation helps to make sure that the lien holder and any other creditors are fully satisfied with the contract. A final review of the purchase contract should be made before any involved party signs the documents, and an attorney who is familiar with real estate law may be able to facilitate that review.

Source: Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, "A Consumer's Guide for Buyers and Sellers of Real Estate in MD", October 07, 2014

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