Buying a home will likely be one of largest purchases you’ll ever make. Selling a home is just as significant. There are many moving parts to a real estate transaction, among the most intimidating are contracts, loan agreements and disclosures, municipal regulations and large sums of money. For these reasons, hiring a real estate attorney is wise decision. Real estate attorneys are hired to protect your interests, as they know what to do and where to look to ensure you’re informed and prepared for all aspects of your transaction.
Once an offer is made and agreed upon, a real estate contract must be drafted which includes the offer price and any terms concerning the exchange of the property. This is where having an attorney becomes essential. While you’re falling in love with your new home-to-be, or getting pumped to unload a real estate burden, an attorney will be the impartial Voice of Reason you’ll need as you embark on this very expensive business transaction.
In New Jersey, the law stipulates that the buyer and the seller have three days to review a real estate contract and have it signed before it becomes legally binding. This 3-day period is called the Attorney Review Period. Although it is not legally required for you to hire a real estate attorney, involving a lawyer will ensure the contract is thoroughly reviewed for legal inaccuracies or terms that may work against you. Your real estate attorney will negotiate on your behalf and can make changes to the contract, inserting any contingencies that you may have.
Your attorney will address major concerns about the property, will provide you key questions to ask the other party, and will dissect the terms of your contract, ensuring you’re protected. Additionally, your attorney will review the home inspection with you, and advise all parties of any judgements, defects or issues with the property that may affect the transaction. When you and your attorney review the findings of a home inspection report, you would need to consider:
If repairs need to be done, prior to closing
If there should be a price adjustment, based on repair costs
If money will be credited at closing for repairs
If there will need to be a renegotiation
When to walk away from the deal
An experienced, competent real estate attorney will help you make these decisions. Finally, a real estate attorney can ensure that your real estate transaction adheres to the applicable rules of your municipality. Without an attorney, you run the risk of failing to file necessary state or county documents. While attorney involvement never completely insulates you from future litigation, having your own real estate lawyer will minimize legal risk to you and your interests. A strong attorney will do his or her best to ensure someone is looking out for you.
The team at Joseph M. Ghabour & Associates has a dedicated Real Estate Transactions Group available to help you work through an offer. To serve our clients, we offer an initial real estate consultation, absolutely free of charge. If you’re considering a purchase, sale or refinance of any property - residential, commercial, or investment - give us a call or drop us a line. We’re here to help.