Buying real estate is one of the most important investments individuals or families make in their lifetime. This process can be complicated, emotional, and stressful so it is essential that buyers and sellers obtain the assistance and counsel of an experienced counsel to guide them through this process. John Onal & Associates has years of experience in residential real estate transactions. By counseling their clients through a careful review of their contract and proposing beneficial revisions, John Onal & Associates protects their client’s interests at the outset. Mr. Onal and his team work diligently to ensure that clients meet deadlines, conduct inspection negotiations, examine title and cure deficiencies, and draft, prepare and review closing documents. 

Once an offer on a home is made, accepted and delivered, via fax or email or mail, the attorney review process, which is obligatory in New Jersey, begins. Unless an attorney is consulted within the next three days and that attorney disapproves or makes changes to the contract, the contract will become final within three business days. During these three days, John Onal & Associates works quickly and efficiently with their clients to make sure that the required changes are delivered to opposing counsel, ensuring the protection of their client’s interests. 

Key Considerations Before Buying or Selling a Home in New Jersey

1.    Offers, Counteroffers, and Purchase Agreements: Most real estate transactions start when the buyer and seller agree to a certain price and certain terms. Frequently, most initial offers are countered by the seller. Once both parties come to an agreement, the buyer and seller execute and initial the standard statewide real estate sales contract.  

2.    Attorney Review Period and Process in New Jersey: The attorney review period commences when both the buyer and the seller have been furnished with a copy of the fully executed contract. The attorney review period in New Jersey is 3 days or 72 hours. Weekends and holidays do not count towards those 3 days for purposes of the attorney review period. If the buyer or the seller do not have their attorneys modify the contract within the attorney review period, the contract becomes binding on the parties. It is of utmost importance that buyers and sellers have reliable legal counsel and representation during this short period of time before the attorney review period ends in order to ensure that appropriate modifications are made that protect their interests and rights. 

3.    Escrow: After the attorney review period is concluded, the purchaser must furnish to the designated escrow agent the initial and additional deposits as agreed to in the contract and the riders. Usually, in New Jersey, it is the seller’s attorney who holds the deposit escrow in their attorney trust account until the sale is finalized. These funds are held in escrow until they are to be released upon closing.

4.    Inspection: After the attorney review period is concluded, it is important for Buyers to immediately schedule their inspections within the inspection contingency period or within the agreed upon time period for the inspection. Most buyers order a general home inspection, radon inspection, termite inspection and then request other inspections they deem necessary, such as the asbestos inspection and lead paint inspection. Furthermore, Buyers should make sure to obtain documentation of any buried oil tanks.

5.    Mortgage: Because the mortgage process can take time, it is important for buyers to get started on this process early. Once the lender issues a loan commitment letter, buyer is said to have satisfied the mortgage contingency. However, the lender will have certain conditions that have to be met such as the appraisal contingency. Lenders will also require the buyer to obtain homeowners insurance and title insurance.

6.    Title: A title search is conducted before buyer proceeds to closing to determine whether there are any encumbrances on the property which must be removed such as liens or assessments. A title search is also important in order to determine relevant interests, restrictions, and regulations pertaining to the use of the property such as real covenants, easements, and other equitable servitudes.

7.    Closing: After a final walkthrough of the property is conducted right before, the closing will take place, usually at the office of the buyer or the title company. At closing, buyer and seller sign all closing documents including the HUD-1, the final loan documents, and seller’s conveyance documents.

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