Selling a Home in New Jersey

Questions About Selling? We'll Give You the Answers

Selling a home in New Jersey can be a long, complicated process. Luckily, the presence of an intelligent real estate lawyer can help put your mind at ease. We have done more than 15,000 closings, so we know how to protect our clients in every step of the selling process.

  • Why do problems occur with a buyer who borrows more than 80% of the sales price? If someone is borrowing more than 80%, this can become a huge problem for sellers. When credit is at risk, lenders are more stringent and will look at the property value critically as far as condition. This means you will hear about sellers paying for paying for closings costs or buyers credit for $5,000.00 or $10,000.00 to help the buyer get the loan. While this is legitimate, any buyer without the standard 20% down takes longer to close, has mortgage rejections more frequently, and experiences many problems with home inspections and appraisals. These all become seller’s problem, especially when you’re stuck making definite plans to move. It is also important to remember that if you choose to sell your home in New Jersey, a real estate attorney can alert you to situations like this that will make the selling process more difficult.
  • How much is the buyer borrowing?  If the buyer is buying with cash, it is a great situation for any seller. However, the chance of this happening is very slim. If the buyer is borrowing 90%, sellers will have problems they wouldn’t have if the borrowers were borrowing 80% and using a bank.
  • Why do sellers allow buyers to borrow more than 80%? A buyer borrowing even 95% of the price is better than no buyer at all. In addition, many sellers don’t have the option of being choosey. In today’s market, I tell every seller to take what you can get as it may be even worse in the future. A seller’s attorney has to “ride herd” on the buyers and their attorney to protect sellers. It’s more work, but our New Jersey real estate attorneys do it to help the sellers as much as possible.
  • How do you protect sellers from buyer’s deals that fall through? No good real estate attorney in New Jersey ever wants a deal to fall through. We get paid to make a closing happen and to handle all the unforeseen problems. I protect sellers with time limits for getting the financing and to ensure sellers aren’t taken advantage of with the home inspections. Often, I even give financing help to the buyers–anything to get the deal closed, and to get sellers the money as soon as possible.
  • What about sellers and home inspections? Sellers want to sell the house “as is,” which means buyers are only getting what the sellers have. In other words, if the buyers want a new roof, they can feel free to put a new one on, but at their own expense. Home inspectors will often say the roof is at the end of its useful life or that the hot water heater, air conditioning, etc. is at the end of term. However, all sellers are responsible for at the closing is that these appliances work. For example, they must ensure the roof doesn’t leak or that the hot water heater works, but not that it will last another ten years. Therefore, sellers shouldn’t be intimidated by home inspections or pressured into thousands of dollars of buyers’ credits for repairs.
  • What does “as is” mean in standard real estate contracts? “As is” means you only get what’s there, nothing more and nothing less. 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 sell your 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.

If you have any questions about home inspections or selling a home in New Jersey, please call. If you had a problem in the past, let us know as our office specializes in real estate litigation and I often am retained as an expert witness.

  • What’s the answer to the home or condo inspection problem? Every buyer has to get a home inspection. I require it on all deals especially new condo units and new homes. New properties usually surprise clients, who pay extra for a home they believe is in excellent condition. Unfortunately, once the home is purchased, the buyer may find that the home isn’t as new as they expected.

The home inspectors that our New Jersey real estate lawyers recommend will give you a detailed report on all conditions of the house and instructions on how all the systems and appliances work. In addition, they will let you attend the inspection.

  • How much will closing costs be? These closing “costs” are actually advance payments for your interest and taxes. After the closing, your first mortgage is not due until two months later. When you make a mortgage payment, it’s always for the previous month. Therefore, if you have a mortgage with a big monthly payment, figure the first monthly payment as an estimate you will have to pay at the closing. Lenders also require that you pay 1/12 of your taxes with every mortgage payment.
  • Do I need a New Jersey real estate attorney to sell my home? In Northern New Jersey, the real estate lawyer controls, supervises and is responsible for everything that happens at a closing. In New Jersey, the attorney is responsible for the contract, informing you of the process, the scheduling, the mortgage commitment, the title, home inspection issues, etc. A good New Jersey real estate lawyer will do everything to protect their client. This is why we suggest a personal meeting with our clients at the beginning of the selling process. Then, we can understand your needs and better plan, schedule and protect your investment.
  • Do buyers need surveys in North Jersey? The main reason people order surveys is because lenders insist on them. However, they aren’t necessary and are usually very expensive. If possible, skip it and you’ll save yourself $400.00 to $1,000.00.
  • What about home insurance? Home insurance is a bargain. It covers everything from fire damage to liability if someone gets hurt on your property. Remember, always ask for replacement value, which is a little extra but well worth it. If you get a mortgage, you’re also required to name an insured, the lender. Simply call your agent and they will add the lender’s name. So if there is damage, they get paid.

If you interested in selling your home in New Jersey, you most likely have more questions than the ones listed above. Our real estate lawyers can offer hands-on attention and provide an easy-to-understand answer to all of your legal questions.