Four Really Important Reasons to call my office before you sign a real estate contract:
- If it isn't in writing, it doesn't exist: Although most people have an ability to negotiate face to face, it is imperative that the terms of any and all agreements be accurately memorialized in the real estate contract for them to be binding and enforceable. The Law Office of Alexandra Nieves-Martinez, Esq. will help to ensure your contract protects your interests, as well as addresses any and all specific concerns and issues that will affect your future use and sale of the property.
- “Standard” real estate contracts do not protect your interests: Most real estate agents use standard form contracts which contain unclear and/or vague language. The forms are not drafted by an attorney and most often contain language that can and will hurt you financially whether you are buying or selling. An attorney's job is to remove and/or modify these harmful provisions to better suit your interest and needs.
- Don’t get stuck with the seller's tax liabilities: Every real estate contract must be reviewed to determine whether the New Jersey Bulk Sale Act applies. If it does, the State of New Jersey Bulk Sale Division will have to be notified in writing at least ten (10) days prior to the closing. If the buyer closes before the tenant requirement, the buyer could be liable for taxes that would have been assessed to the seller.
- A survey is not just for a fence: Although not required by most lenders, I always recommend my clients obtain a survey of the property to ensure there are no hidden boundary issues prior to closing. If you fail to get a survey prior to closing, you will be responsible for any and all boundary issues in the future and will not have any legal recourse against the seller. Survey issues can affect your ability to sell your property in the future and can cost thousands of dollars to remedy. Therefore, it is imperative to get a survey prior to closing.
The one-on-one personal attention you deserve: Buying and selling real estate is arguably one of the most stressful, emotional, and daunting tasks in a person's life. Failure to read the fine print can be disastrous for even the most experienced real estate developer.
A quick response from your attorney can mean the difference of getting the property of your dreams or a deal being declared dead in the water. That is why Alexandra Nieves- Martinez makes it her personal mission to guide you through the entire process from drafting and/or reviewing your contract of sale to the closing table. Specifically, during the entire length of your transaction Alexandra Nieves-Martinez, Esq. will personally respond to your inquiries in a timely manner giving you the peace of mind you deserve. She is available by text, cell, and e-mail even during most off hours. Whether you are a first home buyer or a seasoned real estate developer, she has the experience and resources necessary to guide you through the entire closing process.
Technically, the Law Office of Alexandra Nieves-Martinez, Esq. is located in Bayville, New Jersey. However, our resources allow us to conduct real estate transactions anywhere in the State of New Jersey!
Some common modifications to the contract of the sale include but are not limited to:
Removing any and all “standard ” language which allows the seller to keep the buyer ’ s deposit if the closing does not take place;
Removing any and all liquidated damage clauses or realtor commissions which are found in almost all “standard” realtor contracts;
Limiting or expanding the seller’s requirements to make repairs or improvements prior to closing;
Step-by-Step Guide to Buying a Home
- Budget: Consider your budget for the home as well as the additional costs above and beyond the purchase price to ensure you stay within your means. For example, you should consider the following:
- Actual monthly mortgage payment;
- Monthly home and/or flood insurance premiums
- Monthly and/or Quarterly Property Taxes;
- Utility costs including electric, gas, water, and sewer;
- Monthly maintenance costs including lawn maintenance etc;
- Monthly Homeowner Association or Condo Association Fees
- Initial Sales Contract: Locate and sign the initial real estate contract within your budget;
- Attorney Review: You must contact an attorney within three (3) days upon signing a real estate contract. Failure to do so may bind the contract and prohibit you from making any changes in the future. The attorney should personally review the contract with you and draft an attorney review letter on your behalf in order to afford you the greatest protection to your new investment. For example, the attorney review letter should include a provision that forces the seller to immediately return any and all deposit monies in the event the contract is legally deemed null and void.
- Home Inspections: Although most contracts state that a property is being sold “As - IS”, this is only applicable if the buyer is 100% aware of the condition of the property. Therefore, your real estate contract must include a thorough home inspection clause to allow you the opportunity to have a professional inspect the property and to give you an opportunity to have the defects remedied prior to closing and/or to walk away from the deal with your deposit monies in the event you and the seller cannot agree as to the terms. Buyer's should have a professional inspect the property to determine any and all defects including but not limited to:
- Infestation of wood destroying insects
- Underground storage tanks
- Electric defects
- Physical and/or structural defects
- Plumbing defects
- Heating and cooling defects
- Sewer and/or septic system defects and
- Rood and basement defects
- Ordering legal title: Your attorney will work with a title company to conduct a title search on the property to ensure the sellers are the true owners of the property, to ensure there are no judgments or liens against the seller, and to advise you of any easements on the property that would limit your use of the property.
- Preparing Closing Documents: Your attorney will work with a title company to prepare all of the legal documents necessary for you to legally close title to the property.
- Closing Title: Refers to the actual time that you purchase the property and legally transfer the title from the seller to you, checks are written for disbursements and the actual keys to the property are transferred from the seller to the buyer.
- Recording the buyers Deed and mortgage (if any).
- Obtaining final title, original deed, and home insurance policies: The buyer should receive the original deed, title policy and homeowner's insurance policy within 30 days after the closing.
Purchasing and selling residential property is a complicated transaction. Your attorney should play an active role in your transaction from start to finish including but not limited to:
- Reviewing and explaining the contract of sale to you
- Negotiating new the provisions of the contract during the attorney review phase to better protect your interest and/or removing provisions of the existing contract that either does not apply to you or hurt you;
- Reviewing the home inspection report(s) with you and negotiating any and all repairs and/or credits with respect to same
- Ensuring you receive a clean title from the property;