The buying or selling of one's home is one of the most important events in a person's life. Therefore it is one that should be entered into with a great deal of thought. Puff & Cockerill LLC has been assisting clients through this process for almost 20 years, helping to make it as simple and "painless" as possible. If you are considering the purchase or sale of a home, also consider consulting with us before signing the AGREEMENT OF SALE. You will be glad you did. Below is some information that will help you to understand how our firm can help you through this process. Should you want a consultation, please contact Jeffrey V. Puff, our senior partner and real estate attorney.
The of the most important document in any real estate transaction is the CONTRACT OF SALE, which may also be called an AGREEMENT OF SALE. This contract may be prepared by a lawyer or a licensed real estate broker. As of February 15, 1984, a New Jersey Supreme Court Order provides important protection for you if you sign a contract prepared by a licensed real estate broker for the purchase or sale of real estate, or for a lease of one year or more. You have the right to have an attorney review this contract within three business days after you have signed it. During this three-day period, your attorney may disapprove of the contract and cancel it for you. In fact, the agreement must contain a provision at the top of the first page providing for attorney review.
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:
Transfer of property in New Jersey is called a "closing" or "settlement." Various aspects of the transfer of a piece of real estate are complicated and technical.
Before considering the purchase, sale or lease of any specific piece of real estate, you should consult a lawyer. Years of training prepare an attorney to pinpoint legal problems in advance and to reduce the chance of something going wrong at settlement or later.
Many serious problems can crop up whenever you plan to buy or sell real estate. Some examples include:
When you retain your own attorney for the purchase or sale of real estate, you obtain the services of a trustworthy and loyal advisor. You and your attorney should discuss the responsibilities you would like him or her to undertake on your behalf. If you so request, he or she will assume responsibility for, coordinate, and guide all aspects of your transaction "from contract to closing."
Considering the possible pitfalls, the need to contact an attorney at the outset cannot be overemphasized. Before your sign anything or offer any deposit, see a lawyer!
A CONTRACT OF SALE is an agreement for the purchase and/or sale of real estate. This is one of the most important documents in any real estate transaction because it establishes the respective rights and responsibilities of the purchaser and the seller. (It is the first document a buyer will be asked to sign. The first document a seller would be asked to sign is usually a listing agreement with the realtor). The contract may also be called an AGREEMENT OF SALE. The contract may be written by a lawyer or licensed real estate broker. It may be typed as an original or printed on a form with blanks to be filled in. Either way, 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. 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, an attorney should be consulted before you sign it. However, if you signed a contract prepared by a licensed real estate broker without benefit of legal counsel, don't despair - you can still consult with an attorney. By order of the New Jersey Supreme Court, effective February 15, 1984, you have the opportunity to have an attorney review the AGREEMENT OF SALE (or a lease) within three business days after you have signed it. If your attorney disapproves of the contract, he or she may cancel it for you within this time period. Remember that only an attorney can review and cancel the contract. To gain full protection from this three-day "recision" period, be sure to deliver the contract to your attorney immediately.
A lawyer is trained to answer your questions, and we will gladly provide a free, introductory, no-obligation conference. At the conference we will be able to provide you with a good estimate of closing costs and other costs involved in the transaction. There are many other important ways in which an attorney can help protect your interests during a real estate transaction.
For example, as the buyer's attorney we can:
As the seller's attorney we can:
Of course, these items represent only a partial list of services which may be rendered by us during real estate transactions. We will also perform any additional services necessitated by your particular purchase or sale, upon your request.
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. We charge a reasonable fee based upon the work required and responsibility assumed to handle your transaction. We will be happy to give you an estimate of our fee during the initial conference. You will find that our fee is a small and reasonable cost for the responsibility assumed, the work performed, and the results obtained.
Here are some other important points to remember about real estate fees and charges:
Remember, the fact that you should 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, these exceptions from coverage will be described in the title policy. Only an attorney can tell you how these exceptions will affect your coverage.
You need the services of your own attorney to represent you in all phases of the transaction from contract through closing.
When you retain Puff & Cockerill LLC for the purchase or sale of real estate, you obtain the services of a loyal and trustworthy advisor who can guide your transaction from contract to closing. Mainly because of your attorney's efforts, the closing should be a calm and amicable meeting for the signing of documents and the transferring of funds.
When you complete the following outline of closing costs, you will see that the attorney's fee is a relatively small part of the total closing costs.
When looking for an attorney, base your selection on qualities such as courtesy, efficiency, expertise and personal attention. Don't make the mistake of choosing an attorney primarily on the basis of fee.
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: Title Insurance (including Various Searches) $_________ Recording Costs $_________ Survey $_________ Other $_________ Total $_________ (b) Attorney's fee $_________ (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 $_________ (d) Miscellaneous: Premium, homeowner's insurance policy $_________ Other, such as adjustments to seller for taxes, water and sewer charges, and fuel $_________ Total $_________ 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 or price, or less if Seller qualifies for exemption $_________ Total Seller's Closing Costs (a, b, and c) $_________
The information set forth above constitutes general answers to certain questions pertaining to New Jersey Real Estate Law and is not intended or designed to replace the advice of an attorney after a careful review of the individual facts of your case. Please read our site wide legal disclosure.