SELLING YOUR HOME
Selling your home can be an emotional event to even the most experienced of Sellers. While it is true that there the process is more simple than when you purchased the property, there is still plenty of work to be done. However, this pamphlet will explain the step-by-step process in easy to understand terms. The goal here is to make you understand that it really is not a difficult endeavor and with the assistance of the Law Offices of Edward S. Danhires the transaction will proceed smoothly.
By the time you have contacted us, you will undoubtedly negotiated the basic terms such as price, closing date, amount of deposit monies and what is or isn’t included in the purchase. Below is an easy to understand guide to assist you in understanding the process.
CONTRACT OF SALE
The Real Estate Contract, or Contract, is a binding agreement between you and the Buyer which forms the entire basis of the transaction. It imposes and defines the legally enforceable rights of the parties. If you have engaged the services of a real estate agent the Contract will typically be a preprinted form with the specific terms (such as names of the parties, property address, price, deposit amount, mortgage amount, closing date, etc.) entered onto the form. The Contract will also provide a three day attorney review period in which our office will have an opportunity to review the terms and, if they are not acceptable, cancel the transaction or suggest additional provisions which would make it acceptable. Thus, it is critical that our office be contacted immediately upon receipt of the fully executed Contract. It should be noted here that until the attorney review period is completed you still have the ability to accept other offers.
If neither party has engaged the services of a real estate agent the Contract will be drafted by our office as it is customary that the Contract be drafted by Seller's attorney. In the event our office drafts the Contract then we will need the following basic information to complete the Contract:
1. Names and address of all parties
2. Address of the property being sold
3. Purchase Price
4. Amount of Deposit
5. Amount of Mortgage Buyer will seek
6. Date of Closing
7. Any other special agreements (e.g. any specific household items included or excluded)
Throughout the process of selling your home, there will be requests by various parties for certain information. Thus, it is important that you try to gather as much of it as possible in the early stages. In particular, the following documents will be requested by the Buyer's attorney:
1. Copy of your title insurance policy
2. Copy of your survey (or survey certificate if it is a condominium)
3. Name and contact information of the management company (if a condominium)
4. Copy of the Public Offering Statement or Master Deed (if a condominium)
5. Copy of the Association's financials (if a condominium)
If you have ever been divorced we will need a copy of the divorce judgment. This will not be needed until the closing but it is a good idea to locate it before you begin packing.
In addition, if there is a judgment against you we will need a copy of that judgment immediately as it will be required that the judgment be cleared prior to closing. It is very important that we receive this copy right away so we can begin the process of having it removed as an exception to the title insurance policy that Buyer will obtain.
There are typically three contingencies in the Contract which will permit the Buyer to properly cancel the Contract. They are:
1. Home Inspection Contingency
2. Mortgage Contingency
3. Title Insurance Contingency
Immediately after the conclusion of attorney review, the Buyer will set an appointment to have an inspection done by qualified inspector licensed by the State of New Jersey to perform such inspections. As your attorney, we will review the reports once they have been received and discuss any issues which may be raised in the report. It is typical that if there are any issues identified in the report then the Seller either makes the necessary repairs or provides the Buyer with a credit at closing. It is entirely your decision as to whether the repairs, if any, will be done by you or the Buyer will be given a monetary compensation to make the repairs by himself/herself.
The Buyer will also be required to immediately file a mortgage application with the Lender of their choosing. As the Seller, you do not necessarily know the financial condition of the Buyer so it would be prudent on your part to request a pre-approval letter prior to the signing of the Contract. However, a pre-approval is not the same as a mortgage commitment. It simply means that the mortgage lender believes the Buyer will qualify for a mortgage based on the limited information provided. A mortgage commitment comes later once a more thorough review of the Buyer's finances are examined. There are a number of reasons why a Buyer might be refused a mortgage (e.g. low appraisal, Buyer loses job in interim, etc.). Our office will monitor the situation to make sure the Buyer complies with his/obligations and is in compliance with the deadline set forth in the Contract. If, after the mortgage contingency period expires, and Buyer still does not have a mortgage commitment then either party may cancel the Contract.
As part of the process of purchasing his/her new home the Buyer will be required to obtain title insurance. The Buyer's attorney will order a title commitment and provide us with a copy. Said title commitment will contain the following information as it relates to the property:
1. Names of the owners
2. Outstanding mortgages
4. Judgments against Buyer and Seller
5. Amount of taxes
6. Outstanding utility balances
7. Master Deed (in the case of a condominium)
8. All other information which directly affects the property
Our office will review the title commitment to determine if there are any issues which need to be resolved. If any are found, we will work with you to get them cleared immediately. In the event there is a problem which cannot be cured by us in a timely manner then the Buyer shall have the right to cancel the Contract.
Once all of the contingencies are removed we are ready to move to the closing. One common question asked is whether or not the Seller needs to be at the closing. The answer is no. Our office will have prepared all the necessary paperwork well in advance of the closing and you may either come into our office to sign or have the paperwork mailed to you. In the event that the paperwork is mailed you would have to visit a notary public, sign the documents and return them to us. A limited power of attorney would also be required to allow us to sign the settlement statement.
The fees that you will be required to pay at the time of closing include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Realtor commissions
2. Payoff existing mortgage(s)
3. Attorney fee
4. Federal Express and messenger fees
5. Realty transfer fee
6. Mortgage release fee
There will also be per diem adjustments for the taxes and maintenance (if a condominium).
Our goal is to assist you each step of the way from the signing of the Contract to the closing. We will keep in contact with you each step of the way to ensure that you know where we are in the process and to allay any concerns you may have. With the help of the Law Offices Of Edward S. Danhires you will experience a smooth and stress free conclusion to you sale.
From our offices in Hoboken, New Jersey, our attorneys at The Law Offices of Edward S. Danhires represent clients thoughout New Jersey and specifically in Hudson, Bergen and Essex Counties. Representative neighborhoods include Hoboken, Jersey City, Bayonne, Kearny,North Arlington, North Bergen, Secaucus, Union City, Weehawken, West New York, Bogota, East Rutherford, Edgewater, Fort Lee, Franklin Lakes, Glen Rock, Hackensack, South Hackensack, Paramus, Ridgewood, River Edge and Teaneck. If you are unable to come to us then we will come to you. You may contact The Law Offices of Edward S. Danhires at (201) 418-0070 and we will get the job done for you.