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Buying  or Selling your Home

Buying or selling a home (or any other piece of real estate) is a major transaction. In fact, purchasing a home will probably be the largest single investment you'll ever make. It's important to remember that the purchase of real estate is unique because real estate is:

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Fixed in location,

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Transferred by deed.

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Governed by special state laws.

Transfer of property in New Jersey is called a ''closing" or "settlement." Technical aspects of the transfer of a piece of real estate are complicated.

Before considering the purchase or sale of any specific piece of real estate, you should consult us. Years of education and experience  have enabled us  to pinpoint legal problems in advance and to reduce the chance of something going wrong later.

 Some Possible Problems

In fact, many serious problems can crop up whenever you plan to buy or sell real estate. For example:

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Missing heirs, forgers, invalid divorces, irregular foreclosures, and other unexpected complications can leave the legal ownership of the property in doubt, even though the deed appears to convey full title.

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You may not be able personally to determine beforehand whether or not the property has serious physical defects such as structural problems, water conditions, inadequate electrical wiring or termite infestation.

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The seller's title to the property may be burdened by mortgages, easements, unpaid taxes and improvement assessments, judgments, or other liens.

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The description or survey of the property may be inadequate or inaccurate. Thus, you may actually be acquiring less property than you thought or even a different parcel.

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All-important details of the transaction may not be contained in the Contract of Sale. Anything left out, even if agreed upon by word of mouth, is unenforceable

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Deed or zoning restrictions may prevent you from using the property as you desire.

When you retain our  law firm for the purchase or sale of real estate, you obtain the services of a trustworthy and loyal advisor. We  assume responsibility for, coordinate, and guide all aspects of your transaction "from contract to closing."

Considering the possible pitfalls, the need to contact our law firm at the outset cannot be overemphasized. Before you sign anything or offer any deposit, contact us !

 

The Contract of Sale

A Contract of Sale is an agreement for the purchase and sale of real estate. This is the most important document in any real estate transaction because it establishes the respective rights and responsibilities of the purchaser and the seller. The contract may be called a "binder," a "broker's agreement," a "memorandum of sale," or a "deposit receipt.'' However, if the paper contains the essential elements of a contract, it is a valid and binding contract of sale and no further "formal" or "legal" contract is necessary to bind you. From then on, any dispute between the parties will be resolved by referring to the provisions of the contract.

Since the contract of sale is such an important and legally binding contract, Our firm should be consulted before you sign it. We  will answer your questions and will be able to provide you with a good estimate of closing costs and other costs involved in the transaction.

 

How A Lawyer Can Help

There are many other important ways in which an attorney can help protect your interests during a real estate transaction.

As  the purchaser's attorney we  can:

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Prepare, review and explain the contract of sale.

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Assist you regarding your questions on matters such as termite inspections, structural inspections, the zoning status of your property, restrictions on construction or use, and property insurance.

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Assist you with your mortgage application, review your mortgage commitment and explain your prepayment rights.

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Order and review the survey and all title searches to clearly define the description, location and legal ownership of the property.

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Help to resolve any title problems.

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Obtain title insurance policies covering your ownership interest and lending institutions mortgage interest, and advise you about exceptions which may appear in your title policy.

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Settle any problems regarding transfer of occupancy, settlement date and possession.

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Determine adjustments for taxes and other costs.

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Prepare the final closing statement and other documents. (This information should be sent to you in advance of the closing date.)

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Represent and advise you at the closing where documents such as the closing statement, the seller's deed and affidavit of title and the bond and mortgage are signed. All funds are transferred at this time also.

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Record the deed and mortgage and cancel any existing mortgages and liens.

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Deliver all-important documents to you for your safekeeping after closing.

As the seller's attorney we can:

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Prepare, review and explain the contract of sale.

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Gather important title information for the purchaser's attorney, thus expediting the search and survey process.

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Resolve any title problems revealed by the searches.

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Cooperate with, the purchaser's attorney in resolving possession and closing date problems.

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Assist you in determining the correct balance due on your mortgage.

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Cooperate with the purchaser's attorney in preparing the final closing statement.

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Prepare the deed affidavit of title, survey affidavit and any other necessary documents.

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Represent you at the closing and make certain that you receive the correct amount of proceeds from the sale.

Of course, these items represent only a partial list of services which may be rendered us during real estate transactions and additional services may be necessitated by your particular purchase or sale.

Fees and Charges

When purchasing or selling real estate, a small investment in sound legal advice can give you peace of mind and might save you thousands of dollars. Our law firm charges a reasonable fee based upon the work required to handle your transaction. We will be happy to give you an estimate of his fee during the initial conference. You will find that the attorney's fee is a reasonable cost for the responsibility assumed, the work performed, and the results obtained.

Other important points to remember about real estate fees and charges

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Funds paid for a closing include not only the attorney fee but also the exact costs of the searches, survey, recording costs, and title insurance premiums.

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Purchasers must also pay lenderís charges, including application fees, other charges and escrows required by the lender.

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Real estate brokers generally charge a commission to the seller based on a percentage of the sales price. Realtors perform a valuable service by bringing buyers and sellers together but they do not eliminate your need to be represented by an attorney.

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Homeowner's insurance is insurance which provides coverage against liability for a broad range of casualties such as fire, theft, and accidents. You must pay an annual premium to continue this coverage.

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Flood insurance may also be required or recommended in some areas. You must pay an annual premium for this coverage.

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Title insurance is insurance against title defects not revealed by the public record. The premium is paid at the closing and the coverage remains for as long as you own your home.

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Remember, the fact that you obtain title insurance in no way eliminates your need to be represented by an attorney. The title insurance company examines and insures the title. If the title company determines not to insure against certain items, the exceptions from coverage are described in the title policy. Only an attorney can tell you how these exceptions will affect your coverage.

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You still need the services of your own attorney to represent you in all phases of the transaction from contract through closing.

Our Law Firm

When you retain us for the purchase or sale of real estate, you obtain the services of a loyal and trustworthy advisor who will guide your transaction from contract to closing. Mainly because of our efforts, the closing should be a calm and amicable meeting for the signing of documents and the transferring of funds.

We charge a reasonable fee based on responsibility assumed, work performed, and result obtained. When you complete the outline of closing costs, you will see that our fee is a relatively small part of the total closing costs.

We frequently get phone calls from individuals asking our "price" for a closing. This is usually a waste of time for both the caller and ourselves as it betrays their fundamental misunderstanding of our function in a closing. In every service one hires  someone always is willing to do it cheaper.  But think about the last time you hired a tradesman on that basis.  What was the result? And how important is it to you to have one of the most important transactions of your life handled with courtesy, efficiency, expertise, and  personal attention? Don't make the mistake of choosing an attorney solely on the basis of fee.  

Give us a call the next time you buy or sell a house.

Below is a short outline of some of the costs associated with the sale or purchase of a home.

A Cost Checklist

You may want to use the following real estate cost checklist while discussing costs with us:

Purchaser's Closing Costs

(a)    Reimbursement for Disbursements for:

         County Search ................................................................................... $

         Municipal Searches

         Judgment Search

         Recording Costs

         Survey

         Mortgage Policy of Title Insurance

         Owner's Policy of Title Insurance

         Other

         Total Reimbursement for Disbursements ........................................ (a)

  (b)  Attorney's fee ......................................................................................... (b)

  (c) Funds Required by Lending Institution:

  Application Fee and Credit Report ...................................................... $

  Taxes: ‑ month at $ ‑ per month

  Interest from to . .

  Review of documents, lender's counsel

  Other

  Total funds required by lender .................................................................... (c)

  (d) Miscellaneous:

  Premium, homeowner's insurance policy ......................................... $

  Other, such as adjustments to seller for taxes,

  water and sewer charges, and fuel

  Total Miscellaneous ...................................................................................... (d)

 

Total Purchaser's Closing Costs (a, b, c, and d) ................

Seller's Closing Costs

(a)   Attorney's Fee ............................................

(b)   Realtor's Commission _% x price of $ . ......

(c)   Realty Transfer Fee. $3.50 per $1,000.00 of price, or less if

        Seller qualifies for exemption ..............................

 

Total Seller's Closing Costs (a, b, and c) ....................