TEN THINGS EVERY BUYER HAS TO KNOW AND TERMS TO KNOW WHEN BUYING OR SELLING A HOME IN MILLBURN-SHORT HILLS AND THE SURROUNDING AREAS
Attorney Review Period: This is a three day period in which buyers and sellers can have their Contract reviewed by a real estate attorney in New Jersey. It is important to remember this review period is three business days from the date the last buyer or seller signs, not when the real estate attorney receives the contract.
- Contingencies: This means the contract is contingent or dependent upon something happening first. In New Jersey, it’s customary that all real estate contracts are contingent on the buyers getting their mortgage, home inspections and a clear title.
- Mortgages: A mortgage is a lien put on the property by a lender. There is a great difference between a buyer getting a 90% mortgage from a lender and 80% mortgage from a bank.
- Home Inspection: When we buy a house, there are hundreds of items (often hidden) that can be wrong. Remember, New Jersey has the oldest housing stock in America. If you buy or sell a house in North Jersey, it might be over 50 to 100 years old. Problems with the major systems are often very expensive to fix, particularly with older frame houses.
- “As Is”: This means you only get what’s there, nothing less and nothing more. It produces more real estate litigation than any other clause in a contract, which is why it’s vital to get the help of real estate lawyer in New Jersey if you want to buy a home. A seller has to ensure that the house, the structure, and its operating systems (heat, electrical, plumbing, etc.) are in good operating condition at the closing. Some sellers may also have to make sure appliances, such as a stove or dishwasher, work. However, the sellers do not have to guarantee that the house or the systems are brand new, which is often where problems begin. Buyers don’t want to put thousands of dollars into a new plumbing or heating systems, and seller’s don’t want to pay for improvements they didn’t have at contract time. The New Jersey law doesn’t interpret “as is” to mean buyers get stuck if major systems don’t work. The sellers have an obligation to disclose any hidden defect they know about. Correspondingly, I believe any borrower has an obligation to check out any house by a home inspector before purchasing.
- Closing Date: This is put on at the beginning of a contract and is only a guess at when the closing will take place. The closing date is set by the borrower’s lender and not by the seller or buyer.
- Escrows: Escrow is money held. Lenders will collect extra money each month (escrow) so they will pay your taxes. An escrow is kept at closing in case the water bill comes in higher than estimated.
- What a New Jersey Real Estate Attorney Does: Order title insurance, set closings, tell you how much to bring, work out all problems, supervise, guide you through the whole process, work closely with lenders (who let NJ attorneys close or disburse mortgages) and coordinate with brokers.
- What a New Jersey Real Estate Attorney Doesn’t Do: Do not arrange homeowners insurance or inspect the house. You make the last minute inspection before the day of closing.
- Legal Fees and closing costs may vary.
- Mansion Tax- “The tax is equal to 1 percent of the total consideration if the purchase price exceeds $1 million.”