Legal Blooms: Understanding Property Laws for Spring Home Projects

assorted painting tools on the floor for a home project

Spring is just around the corner, and as it is the season of awakening and sunshine, it is also the season of new plans, projects, and hope. That is why spring is always the season for people making big decisions, whether life or work-related. One of the most common spring plans for people globally is related to their housing environment. Many people decide to buy or sell the house in spring, while others throw themselves into improving home projects. Regardless of which it is, there is a crucial aspect one should know while planning the project’s outcome. That is understanding the law correctly for proper execution of the home project.

To help you out, we’ve researched and prepared a concise guide related to property law, primarily if you reside in Kansas and Missouri.

If you are selling

Preparing to sell a property comes with huge responsibilities. Especially if you want to attract the buyers’ attention at first glance. For that purpose, sprucing up the exterior of your property should be one of the main things to do. What the potential buyers will be looking at and thinking when checking out the property is how they will be hosting summer parties or cookouts by the pool or in the backyard. So, here is what you need to do:

  • Boost your curb appeal
  • Paint the exterior
  • Freshen up the landscape
  • Complete outdoor repairs to your porch and deck, garage door, siding, and fence.
  • Deep-clean your grill and porch furniture
  • Fix leaky faucets
  • Replace broken windows
  • Repair any damaged floors or walls

Property Laws to Know If You Are Selling

One of the most important things to deal with is the property line. Property line disputes or fence issues often pose a severe challenge for home sellers. Kansas law offers guidance on this. Here is the law summed up for you:

  • Owners of adjoining lands are equally responsible for building and maintaining partition fences unless another agreement has been made previously between both parties.
  • If you have been using a fence for 15 years as a boundary marker, it may become legally recognized as a boundary.
  • Fence viewers appointed by the county can help resolve disputes by examining the fence and determining each neighbour’s obligations.
  • Zoning rules and local ordinances may apply, including restrictions for fences.
  • Landowners are allowed to trim branches that overhang their property. However, they cannot trespass to remove the tree without permission. In the case of the tree causing harm or dance, nuisance laws apply.
  • If there are more complex issues, consulting a real estate attorney for free initial evaluation can always be a good idea and a first step.

Consulting a real estate attorney for a free initial evaluation can provide clarity and guidance for complex issues.

If You Are Buying

Over the last few years, the spring market has had the most intense competition when buying a property. So, if you plan on purchasing a property, plan on seeing homes soon after they hit the market. In this way, you can tour the property and, if you like it, make a competitive offer early – before other prospective buyers have seen it. It would help if you were also prepared to make on-the-spot decisions.

Another interesting fact is that homes that aren’t sold in the first 7 to 10 days are overpriced or have some unaddressed issues that have been discovered. It is unbelievable, but the spring market is very crowded, with houses selling within hours of hitting the market.

Property Laws to Know If You Are Buying

The first thing to do is to inspect the property. You can always make an offer first (if you want to take advantage of the chance of getting some property you like) and then have the inspection before the deal goes through. However, you should always pay special attention to the outside of the home, especially looking for water problems, since they are ubiquitous during the spring. Inspecting for water damage, roof damage, drainage problems, foundation issues, and pest damage is always a good idea.

Now, more from the legal side of things. Here are some notes you should consider knowing before buying a house:

  • Get pre-approved for a mortgage before house hunting to make the buying process smoother.
  • Make the offer on a desired property with the help of your real estate agent. A lawyer specialising in real estate will always review the purchase offer and explain what you need to know.
  • When negotiating and signing the purchase agreement, you always need to outline details including earnest money, contingencies, settlement date, and possession date.
  • Arrange for a home inspection to identify any potential issues. Always negotiate repairs with the seller.
  • You will need to purchase title insurance to make sure you have ownership rights and protect against any claims of property.

If You Are Renovating

If you are not planning to buy or sell a house and only want to improve the condition of your current housing, spring is the best time of the year to start and finish the project. It is a time of preparation before the long summer nights come, and you’ll need to enjoy the view and the comfort of your house, mostly its exterior. Here is a list of the most important things to check and repair:

  • Clean the gutters by ensuring proper drainage. Remove any debris from downspouts.
  • Make sure you have clean air circulation by replacing your HVAC filter regularly.
  • Replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Clean out your dryer vent to prevent any fire hazards.
  • Improve insulation by sealing gaps around windows.
  • Prepare your equipment for mowing the lawn.
  • Improve the curb appeal by cleaning the exterior siding of your home.
  • Inspect the roof, check for damage, and clean the moss or algae growth from the roof.
  • Touch up chipped or damaged paint, protect the wood surfaces, and apply a fresh coat of stain or sealant to extend the life of your deck.
  • Trim the vegetation to allow proper airflow and prevent damage around your home.

Property Laws to Know If You Are Renovating

If you are renovating, there is an excellent possibility that you’ll need a contractor to help you out with specific projects around the house. You can cover the basics yourself, but ensuring that everything is done safely is the job of the professional contractor. However, you can easily be scammed by unprofessional contractors. To avoid this, make sure you:

  • Check the contractor’s licence status and the contractor’s complaint history.
  • If the contractor takes money but doesn’t complete the work within 90 days, you can sue them under the felony theft law.
  • Contractors must have a licence if the projects cost over $25,000
  • Always get multiple bids and check the contractors’ references.
  • Beware of door-to-door contractors asking for upfront payment or offering significant discounts; they are probably trying to scam you.
  • Make sure the contractor is adequately insured.
  • Never pay in cash or before the work is fully complete.

Always be cautious of red flags—spot unlicensed contractors, high-pressure sales tactics, and contractors without written contracts or using unmarked vehicles.

Some Final Words

Spring is coming, and it is time for fresh starts and home-related projects. Knowing property laws gives you an advantage whether you are selling, buying, or renovating. Sellers should focus on how to improve their property’s appearance and understand the law. On the other hand, buyers need to act quickly and ensure legalities like purchasing agreements and title insurance. And last but not least, renovators should be cautious when hiring contractors checking licences to avoid scams. With a good understanding of property laws and careful planning, navigating spring home projects can be rewarding and successful.

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