After a purchase contract is signed by both the buyer and the seller, the contract is said to have entered into an attorney review period. It’s important to understand exactly what this period is and how it impacts a real estate transaction. Here are 5 key things to know about attorney review:
1. It is Mandatory in a Brokered Deal - In New Jersey and many other states, real estate transactions that are handled through a real estate brokerage firm must include in their contracts a clause that allows for a 3 day period where both the buyer and the seller may have the contract reviewed by an attorney.
2. Starts Immediately: Once signed by both parties the contract is said to have entered into the “attorney review period”. It starts from the date of the last signature (usually the seller’s)
3. Can Last More Than 3 days – If either attorney disapproves of anything written in the contract the period can be extended indefinitely until all issues have been cleared up. Once all contractual issues have been resolved a final letter is written and signed by bother attorneys to effectively conclude attorney review.
4. Choose Any Attorney – Buyer and seller have the right to choose any attorney they wish to represent them. When choosing a potential attorney it’s important to consider the cost, location, and experience with New Jersey real estate law. Most attorneys in northern New Jersey will charge between $800-$1,200.
5. Contract Can Be Cancelled – During attorney review either party can cancel the contract for any reason whatsoever. No valid reason is required and the other party likely can’t seek damages or pursue legal action.
Attorney review allows both the buyer and the seller to review the contract with a professional that can help them understand the details involved in the real estate transaction before they fully commit to the deal. Once attorney review is over the contract become binding on both parties
As always, the information written here is intended for educational purposes and should not be construed as legal advise. Please consult directly with an attorney for legal questions.
Social media has taken the modern world by storm. People today are more connected than ever before thanks to platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. In terms of real estate, this means that many potential home buyers are starting their home search online. If you are planning on selling your house, you will want to make sure that internet advertising is part of your marketing plan. Here are just a few examples of how to market on social media.
1. Zillow Listing - Posting on Zillow is an easy way to put your property in front of thousands of potential homebuyers. To do this, just type in the address of your home and click on "owner" tab. Then you can fill in the details about your property such as the price and number of beds and baths. Make sure to write up a nice concise description and use high quality pictures. When you are finished, publish the listing and share it on your favorite social media platforms.
2. Facebook Groups- If you live in a town that has a facebook group, this can be a great way to reach potential buyers that work or live in the area. Share your zillow listing or create a post from scratch with a short description and nice pictures of the property. Remember to tell people how to get in contact with you.
3. Facebook Ads- This is a little more advanced and requires some basic understanding of "pay-per-click" advertising works, What you want to do is create an ad that targets potential home buyers that live or work near your home. For the ad you'll want to include a nice picture and a short description with a "call to action". Tell buyers where to go or who to call for more information. Finally, set your daily budget and how often you want the ad delivered. Once the ad is live you can monitor the traffic and feedback using facebook's ad management tool.
4. Video- Take a short (less than 5 minute) video of your home and post it online. The video should either be a virtual tour or a slideshow. Make sure to use a good quality camera and keep the video professional. Edit the video to include your name and contact information at the bottom. Then, post it to Youtube with the property address as the title. Once your video is live, link to it on your social media.
Are you considering putting your house up for sale after the New Year, but not sure where to start? Maybe you're afraid it will take too long to sell, or that you won't get the price you want? One way to make sure that doesn't happen is by giving the outside of your house a good makeover, and set the scene for buyers to fall in love with your home. Here are 3 tips to help you stage the outside of your home for the spring and summer market.
1. Foundation and Siding - Take a look at your home's foundation. Is the paint worn, cracked, and chipped? It might be time to repaint it and get it looking new again. Also inspect your drivieway and your home's siding. Don't worry - If you've taken care of your home you probably won't have to replace it, but a good powerwash can go a long way. Remember that when buyers see things like peeling paint or chipped siding they are going to think the house has not been well taken care of. Don't let them have that first impression!
2. Landscaping- Step outside your front door and look around your front yard for 2 minutes. What you are seeing is what potential buyers will see. Dead plants, old Christmas decorations in the middle of March? Again, it's all about making a good first impression. What you want to do is first remove all weeds, dead plants, and old lawn ornaments. Then cut the grass and throw down some fresh grass seed, watering it for a few days. Lastly, get a few plants and mulch from the local nursery and spruce up the front and sides of the house. Buy 2 of the same plant so you can create a nice symetrical design along the front.
3. Don't forget the backyard - While that might not be part of the potential buyers first impression experience, you should still make sure it's in the best condition possible. Make no mistake, backyards are a big deal to a lot of buyers. Pull up weeds, water plants, do some sweeping, and throw out any old raggedy furniture. Oh, and please - If you have a dog that normally uses the backyard for a bathroom, make sure you clean it up so buyers don't step in anything gross!
Imagine yourself as a potential buyer looking at your property for the very first time. What impressions are you getting? Would YOU buy your house? What would you like to see changed before you put an offer on your house?
Don't worry about spending a few thousand dollars to get your house ready to sell, because if you do it right you'll get it all back at the closing table. And if you're handy, you can save tons of money by doing it yourself. But keep in mind that if the property needs too much work, or has major issues like damaged plumbing, electrical, or structural, you may be better off selling "as-is" to a cash buyer. Sometimes the extra work is not worth the money in the end.
The Closing date is the most important date of the entire real estate transaction. It is the day in which title is finally conveyed between the previous owner and the new one. After weeks of negotiations and hard work, the last thing anyone wants is for a deal to fall apart at the closing table. That's why we've outlined a few key steps every buyer and seller should take before signing on the dotted line. Following each one of the tips below will help to ensure you have a smooth and successful closing:
1. Take 1 last walk through the home. Ask your realtor to walk the property with you. Bring the repair list with you and make sure all items were addressed. Make sure items that were to be removed were indeed taken out and anything that was supposed to remain behind is still there. Don't wait until the last minute to do the walkthrough, do it the day before closing so you have time to address any issues that might arise.
2. Read paperwork BEFORE the closing. There should be no surprises when you sit down to close the deal. Depending on the type of transaction there may be a lot of paperwork to sift through. There is no need to feel overwhelmed. Request that the attorney, mortgage company, etc send you the preliminary drafts of the closing documents 2 days prior to closing. calmly go through the documents and jot down notes on anything that isn't clear to you, Then consult with your attorney or mortgage rep to get a better understanding on those items.
3. Make sure all proceed checks, escrow payments, deposits, etc. are prepared in advance. Buyers should make sure they know in advance the exact amount needed to bring to closing. Decide ahead of time which form of payment (check, credit card, wire) is best. Sellers should decide ahead of time how they want to receive the proceeds. The bottom line is you want to make sure your money goes where you want it to go at closing.
4. Make sure all contingencies are satisfied. Were all repairs completed? Did someone obtained the municipal fire and certificates of occupancy? Were all of the buyer's mortgage contingencies met? Are there any outstanding judgements, liens, or bills that need to be paid at or before closing? Buyers should consult with their mortgage rep and attorney to tie up any loose ends. Sellers should stay in contact with their attorney and title company to make sure there are no outstanding issues that could delay the sale.
5. Make sure your moving arrangements are flexible. Too many people make the mistake of thinking the closing date is set in stone. Trust me when I say that it is not! Though there are exceptions, in most cases the closing date is a "floating" deadline. The date and time can usually only be confirmed 2-3 days in advance, at best. That's why it's important to have a flexible moving schedule, and to have temporary living arrangements set up if needed. If you are selling, don't wait until the day of closing to move out. Give yourself time to move your personal belongings without the pressure and stress of looming deadlines. Lastly, don't rent a moving van or hire a moving company until the exact date and time has been confirmed by all parties involved.
The closing is the most critical and emotionally charged moment of the real estate transaction. That doesn't mean it has to feel stressful and chaotic. Keep a cool head and these 5 tips in mind to help make sure your next closing is a smooth and successful one!
In Northern New Jersey it is common for a home to have an underground storage tank or (UST). A UST is a large tank that holds oil used for heating the home. Some oil tanks are active in homes that use oil as the primary heat source, while others are abandoned or decommissioned in homes that have been converted to gas heat. When an abandoned UST appears on a home inspection, it can be a complicated matter. That’s because there’s always a possibility that the soil underneath and around the tank could be contaminated with oil products. Here are 4 tips to help deal with an oil tank.
1. Do a Tank Sweep - The first step to confirming the presence of a UST is to hire a company that will perform a tank sweep of the property to detect the tank. If a tank is discovered, they will produce a report describing the approximate size of the tank and it’s location. A tank sweep typically costs $250-$350.
2. Get Permits & Certificates – If an oil tank had been previously decommissioned or removed, there should be a permit or certificate with the town. Buyers should be wary of a seller that mentions the removal of a tank but doesn’t have any permits or town certs to back it up.
3. Get a Soil Test – In instances where a UST is discovered it’s critical to know 2 things: Is there is any oil product still in it? And Is it leaking? Remember that some UST’s can be 30 or 40 years old. The tanks decay and corrode over time and eventually can leak. If a leak is suspected then environmental company should be hired to take a soil sample and analyze it for possible soil contamination.
4. Sell it 'As-Is' - If a UST is discovered during a real estate transaction in most cases the buyers will ask that the sellers remove the tank. However, sometimes a home can be sold with the UST still in the ground. For example, investors and house flippers often buy properties with abandoned USTs. Foreclosures, estates, and vacant homes are often sold as-is and some investors take the risk. If a seller has a UST, selling to a cash buyer may be the best option.
As of 2016, 4 percent of the total housing market in New Jersey is in foreclosure. Many homeowners are still carrying the burden of second mortgages and adjustable rate loans today. If you are facing foreclosure or are behind on your mortgage payments, there are things you can do right away that could help prevent the loss of your home.
First, immediately contact your lender's foreclosure department to inform them you are having a financial hardship. Next, consult with an attorney, tax advisor, and real estate broker to better understand the legal and financial aspects of your situation. Most importantly, don't be discouraged. There are several ways you can save your home and credit. Here are 6 ways to deal with foreclosure.
1. Short Sale. You can attempt sell your house for less than what you currently owe on your loan. Your home does not have to go into foreclosure, and you don't have to file bankruptcy. The lender saves money without having to file foreclosure proceedings, but does lose money by not getting the full price of the home during the sale. The buyer usually gets the house at a reduced price.
2. Partial Claim. If you qualify, your lender may be able to work with you to obtain an interest-free loan from the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agency to bring your mortgage current. Visit the HUD website for more information on this option.
3. Special Forbearance. A lender can arrange a repayment plan based on your current financial situation or may provide a temporary reduction or suspension of your mortgage payments. You may qualify for this if you've recently experienced a reduction in income or an increase in living expenses.
4. Deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. You may be able to voluntarily "give" your home to your lender. This may help your chances of getting another mortgage loan in the future.
5. Mortgage Modification. You may be able to refinance the amount owed and extend the term of your mortgage loan for the missed payments. You may qualify if you've recovered from a financial hardship and your net income is less than it was before you defaulted on the loan.
6. Pre-Foreclosure Sale. You can sell your property and pay off your mortgage to avoid foreclosure and save your credit rating. This option works best If you know you can no longer afford to make the monthly payments but you haven't offically gone into foreclosure yet.
When facing foreclosure or any financial crisis the key is to contact your lender immediately to set up a payment plan or discuss other options. Ask the lender if the option chosen will be reported on your credit report, if so ask that the option not be reported. Just don't be in denial and wait for the worst to happen - tackle the issue right away. Above all, remember to consult with qualified professionals for real estate, tax, and legal advice before making a final decision on which option you choose.
You have finally decided it's time to sell your home. But before you list the property consider making a few improvements that'll help you sell it faster and for more money! Here are 8 tips on things to do before selling your home.
1. Remove all Major Clutter. Take a look at the house and determine how much clutter you need to remove. It’s important to keep in mind that prospective buyers will want to see what the house looks like behind all your stuff. This sometimes means going room to room and clearing everything out so that the whole house appears clean and organized.
2. Neutralize the Home. You may love the native tapestry on your living room wall or your grandmother’s old spoon in the kitchen but most of the time these personalized decorations will not help sell your home. Many home staging companies recommend removing personal photographs and knick knacks and replacing them with neutral items like picture frames or a vase with a simple arrangement.
3. Minor cosmetic work. Once you remove the clutter you will probably notice that some parts of the house are in need of repairs. it’s a good idea to paint where necessary, clean the carpets, repair moldings and trims, and replace cracked or damaged drywall. When making these improvements think neutral colors for any finishings be it paint or carpets. If you have hardwood floors have them sanded and finished. Area rugs can look amazing. Whatever you do, don’t over do it. Keep it simple and clean.
4. Hire a professional cleaner. Once you have the house cleared you should hire a professional cleaning crew to wash the walls, windows, work over the kitchen and bathrooms, clean the floors and shampoo all carpets that don’t need to be replaced. Your house should be spotless and kept this way for the duration.
5. Staging each room. If your rooms are smaller rearrange the furniture to make the room look bigger. For example removing some furniture is better than having too much cramped in. Set your furniture up in a conversation pit style. Make it cozy. Pull couches away from walls to give the appearance of depth.
6. Kitchen and bathrooms. To a buyer, these are often the most important rooms in a home. Make sure yours show really well. Plumbing fixtures should be working properly and look like new. Use a good cleaner or even a metal polish to make them shine. Showers and tubs should to be spotless. Sinks and vanities should to be clean and uncluttered. Kitchen cabinets should be in good working order with all doors opening and closing properly.
7. Doors and windows. It’s all about first impressions. In the case of selling your home, The first thing prospective buyers see when they walk in your home is a door. Make sure its painted or cleaned up and that it will open and close properly. This goes for screen doors as well. Windows should all be cleaned and be sure if someone wants to open them that they work properly. If they have been painted closed, as is the case with some older homes, now is the time to get them opened!
8. Odors and pets. if you’ve ever walked into a house with dogs or cats you know that it’s possible to immediately smell them as soon as you open the door. Therefore it’s important to take extra steps to remove all animal odors from a home you’re preparing to sell. Keep litter boxes fresh and clean daily. If possible, restrict your animals to certain areas of the home until after the sale. If you have more than one cat or dog remember to vacuum often and use carpet cleaners.
I know this sounds like quite a bit of work, and it is! But by following these tips you could easily be adding five to ten thousand dollars to the sale price of your home, not to mention that it will very likely sell faster! When it comes to selling a home, a little elbow grease now could turn out to be a solid investment.