Experienced Real Estate Lawyer Joel R. Spivack Esq. Answers Sellers’ Frequently Asked Questions
Deciding to sell your home, whether you are upgrading to a larger place to raise your growing family or downsizing after the kids have flown the nest, can be an emotional, yet exciting, proposition. It’s likely your real estate is your largest asset and, as such, you want to protect your investment and your legal rights.
If you have questions about selling property, real estate attorney Joel R. Spivack, Esq. is here to help. For more than two decades, he has expertly guided residents of Cherry Hill, Marlton, Moorestown and the surrounding communities in South Jersey through successful real estate transactions. Further, if you are interested in selling your house in short sale, or you are facing foreclosure, talk to Mr. Spivack right away.
Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked sales-related questions. Mr. Spivack will be happy to expand upon any answer regarding the selling or buying process. Contact him as soon as you have decided to buy or sell; it’s important to make sure you are legally protected from Day 1.
I’ve Found a Buyer! What Do I Do Next?
Your realtor will take care of the initial contract. Once it’s signed by both parties, you need to find an experienced real estate attorney to protect your interests as the seller. Do not make the mistake of relying on your realtor’s “legal-like” advice. Only a real estate attorney can provide bonafide legal guidance. If you choose to hire Joel R. Spivack, the realtor will send him a copy of your contract and the Attorney Review process will officially begin.
It’s never a good idea to sign a binding contract without having a lawyer review it first.
Why Is It Important to Hire a Real Estate Lawyer in New Jersey?
Some towns do not require that sellers and buyers use real estate lawyers during the process. However, the seller’s attorney generally conducts the closing. Additionally, real estate law in NJ is quite complex. You need a lawyer with the knowledge and skills to complete a detailed title search to uncover liens and other deed-related issues that may impact the sale.
Further, a real estate transaction involves countless important documents including: sales contract, mortgage paperwork, statement of settlement and deed documents, just to name a few. Those are the usual and customary pieces of paperwork. If there are challenges that arise during your deal, you need a lawyer who is by your side from the start – ready, willing and able to protect your rights.
What Does It Mean to be in “Attorney Review?”
Once both the seller and buy sign the initial real estate contract, there is a three day waiting period during which terms can still be negotiated. Generally speaking, the initial contract is created by a realtor, but real estate attorneys representing both parties will review the contract during the waiting period. Each side can request and accept or deny terms. The Attorney Review period sometimes takes longer than three days; this is fine as long as both parties and their attorneys agree to the extended period. At the end of the review, once terms are accepted by both parties, the contract becomes valid. If terms cannot be agreed upon, the contract is terminated and any deposit monies are returned to the buyer.
Can I Keep Showing My Home During Attorney Review?
Some people do continue to show their homes, hoping for a better offer. This is legal. However, it’s more likely that once a home is in attorney review, showings and marketing/promotion stop.
The Closing: When Does It Happen and Who Pays What?
If everything goes according to plan, the sale of your home will “close” or be completed on the date set forth in the sales contract. Many a closing date has been known to be postponed, for a variety of reasons.
During the closing, you will sign many documents and your attorney will take care of making sure that paperwork is processed properly to make sure your current mortgage is paid off so, once the sale is complete, you are free of any obligation to the property.
Closing Costs, often paid by the buyer (though this is often a point of negotiation), are the fees paid to complete the sale. Closing costs may include, but are not limited to, prepaid interest, loan points, title insurance and escrow fees.
How Can An Attorney Help with Issues that Arise from a Home Inspection?
It’s likely your buyer will want to conduct a series of home inspections: pest, radon, carbon monoxide, and a general overview of the structure including HVAC, plumbing, electrical, foundation, etc. If the buyer’s inspection reports reveal problems with the property, your attorney can deal with the buyer’s attorney in negotiating ways to mitigate the issues. For example, if there is a termite problem, you may be asked to get an exterminator to take care of it. If there is a major roofing issue, you may be asked to make repairs or offer money at closing to cover the expenses of the repair.
Joel Spivack will handle these negotiations on your behalf, keeping in close communication with you every step of the process. It should be noted that you, as the seller, have the right to decline any requests made by the buyer. However, this may result in the buyer deciding to walk away from the deal.
What If I Changed My Mind and No Longer Want to Sell My Home?
If you decide to get out of a contract, you may be sued for damages by buyers. However, there are points where you may be able to reconsider the whole selling process. If you aren’t sure whether or not you want to go through with selling, speak with Mr. Spivack about your rights as soon as possible.
Do I Have To Disclose Information About My Home?
Honesty is definitely the best policy if you are trying to sell your home. While some of the information that you may disclose might encourage buyers to offer a lower price, full disclosure protects you from being sued by buyers later on. In most cases, homeowners are legally bound to fully disclose any issues that the property may have.
Information included in the disclosure: major repairs that are needed, cracks in the foundation, HVAC issues, any problems with mold that the home may have, termite issues and more. Talk to Mr. Spivack about seller’s disclosure obligations.
Contact the Law Office of Joel R. Spivack for Sound Legal Guidance When You Are Ready to Sell Your Home in South Jersey
Real estate is a major investment and most people have a very emotional attachment to the place they lived. It’s understandable if you, as a seller, have questions and are concerned about protecting your rights and your financial interests. Contact Mr. Spivack for experienced real estate guidance in Cherry Hill, NJ, and the surrounding towns.