When you buying any type of real estate in Santa Cruz, it's imperative that you're aware of your rights. Not everything is as cut and dry as some may want you to think, and while any good Realtor will do everything they can to protect you, knowing what you are and aren't entitled to will help alleviate any awkward conversations and potential disappointment. The following is a list of many of those rights:
In this case, discrimination means being denied the purchase of a home unfairly. If you can afford a home, you have every right to buy it no matter who you are or what neighborhood it's in. The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate because of race, handicap, religion, familial status, national origin, whether you have children or not, and many other issues. This not only applies to those buying a home, but also homeowners who rent their property out.
This goes hand in hand with nondiscrimination. To be denied a loan, there has to be a legitimate reason, such as insufficient income or an unacceptable credit history. A lender cannot use race, gender, national origin, religion, familial status, or disability as a reason to deny your loan. If you have the great credit and are financially stable enough to support a home loan, then there's no reason to be denied.
You can't be threatened, coerced, or intimidated into not buying real estate. No one can use violence or blackmail to force you into buying a property.
Good Faith Estimate
A Good Faith Estimate is a document that a lender has to give you when you apply for a reverse mortgage. Thanks to RESPA (the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974), you can ask a lender to give you a "Good Faith Estimate." A Good Faith Estimate is the lender's best estimate of settlement costs. This allows you to compare offers and understand the true cost of the loan, which will help you make more informed buying decisions.
Sometimes lenders have fees that aren't refundable to you if you cancel a loan agreement. If this is the case, the lender has to let you know what fees won't be refunded when you're agreeing to the terms and conditions of the loan. There must be full disclosure of every additional fee and clause.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
This is the yearly costs of your loan. It includes up-front fees and interest, as well as finance charges, payment schedules, and late payment charges. Your lender must provide you with a Truth In Lending Statement that shows you a list of items that have been added to your APR.
Home Inspection Report
You have the right to have a home inspector visit the property to identify any major problems before the agreement is finalized. Based on this report, you can get out of the sales contract if any serious problems are identified. Or, you can adjust your bid to compensate for the problems. If you sign the contract before getting the property inspected, make sure there's a claus in the agreement so you can leave the deal if any major problems are found.
Buying a home can be exciting, and you may be tempted to scan over the paperwork in a whirlwind of excitement. Read everything before signing, and know your buyer rights!