Whether as a buyer or seller, a real estate transaction is an important matter. As a seller, you want a transaction that is free of hassle so you can move forward with your life. As a buyer, you want to purchase a new home on agreeable terms. Real estate agents can certainly help either a buyer or seller, but real estate agents are not legal experts. Only a New Jersey real estate attorney can offer expert legal advice and protection for such a large investment.
Selling a Home
While a seller certainly wants a home to look its best while on the market, a seller must think about more than just an appealing aesthetic. There are certain obligations which sellers must adhere to, either by disclosing or tending to possible problems for a buyer.
Specific structural defects must be disclosed about a house you are trying to sell. Neglecting facts such as a leaky roof, pest infestation, or potentially hazardous leaks on the property, are common grounds for litigation. Any false statements or omissions can lead to a lawsuit.
Improvements on the property that required permits should also be disclosed. A buyer who inherits unpaid taxes for improvements on a home because of a seller’s negligence may take the seller to court.
A property lien is an outstanding debt which a seller must address in order to transfer a property title. In some instances, a seller may not even be aware of a lien against a home. Real estate attorneys can advise you regarding how to handle a lien to move forward with a real estate transaction.
If you find a buyer who is agreeable to the terms of a sale, you likely want a seamless transaction just as much as the potential buyer. A real estate lawyer can make sure that you are fully compliant with the law during a real estate transaction. There are numerous steps during the sale of the home, and it is best to retain a real estate attorney in New Jersey who will be familiar with your case in the event that any problems arise.
Buying a Home
As a buyer, you want to know all you can about a home, so there are no unpleasant surprises once the property has been purchased. Buying a home is an enormous investment, and a real estate agent, though helpful, cannot offer legal advice.
Contract, financing and inspection issues are the biggest causes of setbacks for buyers. Current or new financial obligations may stall or spoil a loan approval. Issues with a seller’s title may also prove to be an enormous hindrance or impediment to closing.
You have to consider the daunting task of actually moving into a new home, forwarding your mail, finding new medical professionals and insurance companies. Having a New Jersey real estate lawyer means he or she can directly deal with a seller’s lawyer and your lender. You can relax knowing that a legal expert is ensuring a smooth transition toward your new property.
A real estate purchase contract is a legally binding document between a buyer and a seller regarding a property. While straightforward information is included in this document, such as the address and price of the property, many provisions and clauses will impact how the transaction proceeds. This will include:
- Closing date
- Appliances and fixtures included
- Environmental issues or concerns
- Underground storage or fuel oil tanks
- Mortgage and/or deposit due date(s)
Since a real estate contract is legally binding, it is wise to have an experienced real estate attorney give you advice specifically for your circumstances, in order to understand all of your rights, liabilities, options and obligations. Only the best real estate lawyers in New Jersey can successfully negotiate terms of or changes to a contract. If an inspection or title report reveals any problems, a skilled real estate attorney can advise you regarding your options and rights. While a real estate agent may understand what paperwork is necessary for the transaction, only a seasoned New Jersey real estate attorney can give you sage valuable legal advice regarding changes to any documents or negotiations.
Attorney Review Period
Residential real estate contracts are subject to review by real estate lawyers. This is called the attorney review period and it typically lasts three business days (more or less). It allows a real estate attorney who represents either the buyer or the seller to make changes to the contract to the benefit of his or her client and/or the sale and transfer of the home. However, this period of time also allows either the buyer or seller through counsel to legally cancel the contract without any fear of repercussion or reprisal. While neither party wants to rush this process, the best real estate attorneys can complete this task promptly to protect your interests, ensure the contract goes forward and the client’s expectations and goals are achieved to the extent feasible and possible.
As a prospective buyer, you have the right to have the home professionally inspected in any reasonable capacity you’d like. An inspector may check for mold, cracks in the foundation, pest infestations, hazardous materials and contamination, and generally the build quality and maintenance condition of a home. A savvy real estate attorney can review inspection reports with a buyer and then communicate with the seller’s attorney request(s) for applicable repairs, or simply request a reduction in price in lieu of repairs (also known as a seller credit or concession). A seasoned skilled New Jersey real estate lawyer should be able to negotiate a deal or resolution which proves advantageous for you in one or multiple ways.
A mortgage contingency allows for protection if a lender denies the buyer a loan. The contingency may vary from contract to contract, but it is an imperative clause to include. A buyer may not know whether he or she can be approved for a loan until after the real estate contract is finalized. Unfortunately, the buyer is then committed to purchasing the home even if the loan is denied. A mortgage contingency clause allows the buyer to cancel or terminate the contract, if a loan is refused, legally and without reprisal, repercussion or monetary loss. Without such a contingency, a buyer can lose a deposit, face a lawsuit, both or more. An experienced and skilled real estate attorney can advise you regarding the wording and terms of a contingency and what your rights and options are, so both you and the seller are protected and comfortable.
Legal Title or Title Search
A title search must be conducted to ensure that there are no outstanding liens, encumbrances, loan payments and/or impediments secured against the home, which could prevent its sale due to the seller not being able to convey clear title to a prospective purchaser. A title search may also expose easements, restrictive covenants and/or restrictions on the property, which allow others to use the property without the home owner’s permission and/or may impact one’s usage of a property. A utility company may have the right to construct pipes across a property, or an easement can simply prevent additions, such as a fence. A competent New Jersey real estate attorney will counsel you on any such issues discovered so that you can make an informed educated decision whether you want to move forwards with the purchase or not, or what your rights and options may be.
Unfortunately, fraud committed by a seller or knowingly concealing something material about a property is a real possibility in a real estate transaction. If a seller purposely misrepresents, conceals or omits problematic facts and/or known issues or problems with a home, a new homeowner may incur huge financial setbacks for repairs, or tedious trips to court in order to settle the matter. If you have a good working relationship with one from the beginning, an experienced real estate attorney in New Jersey will have the benefit of being familiar with you and your transaction should a future problem culminate in or require a litigation.
You Need the Best Real Estate Lawyer in New Jersey
Experienced, seasoned and skilled New Jersey real estate attorneys are experts in the contractual, financial, title and legal aspects of property and its purchase and sale. Between a mortgage, title search, inspection, and ensuring that everything on the contract is properly stated and addressed before closing, there are numerous complex tasks to manage during a real estate transaction. Let an expert protect you from errors, problems, frustrations, issues and/or complications in buying and selling real estate. Before a potentially irreversible mistake or misstep is made, you owe it to yourself to discuss any proposed real estate transaction(s) with the best real estate lawyers in New Jersey.