CAN I SIGN THE CONTRACT PRIOR TO MY ATTORNEY REVIEWING IT?
Contracts of Sale that are presented through a New Jersey Realtor have an automatic three day attorney review that permits you to sign in advance of your attorney’s review of the contract. The contract should be presented to me immediately after signing to permit the review to be completed within the three day period.
WHEN DOES THE 3 DAY ATTORNEY REVIEW BEGIN AND WHEN DOES IT END?
The 3 day attorney review starts when the contract of sale is fully executed and delivered to the purchaser or his or her counsel. Each day is interpreted as a “business day”, not a calendar day. If a contract is signed on the weekend, the first day of attorney review would be the next business day. Once a review letter is submitted during the review period, the review period remains open indefinitely until the parties mutually agree to approve the contract and conclude the review period.
WHAT TYPE OF CLOSING COSTS ARE INVOLVED IN THE SALE OF PROPERTY?
Your biggest closing expense will be paying off any existing mortgages. Other expenses include:
- If you have used the services of a realtor, the real estate commission will be due at closing and paid out of the proceeds.
- You will be required to pay the NJ Realty Transfer fee at closing. This fee is imposed upon the recording of a deed, evidencing transfer of title to real property in New Jersey. This fee is always due from the Seller.
- Any taxes and condo maintenance will be adjusted at closing.
- After paying your attorney’s fees, the balance of the proceeds will be provided to you.
CAN I CONTINUE TO MARKET AND SHOW MY HOME WHILE WE ARE IN ATTORNEY REVIEW?
YES, until the attorney review is concluded and the contact is formally approved by your attorney, you can continue to market and show your home to prospective purchasers for purposes of obtaining back-up offers. Under no circumstances should more than one contract be signed until the prior contract has been formally terminated. If a more desirable offer is obtained during the attorney review period, you may instruct your counsel to terminate the initial contract prior to signing the newly offered contract.
CAN I BE SURE THAT CLOSING WILL OCCUR ON THE DATE WRITTEN INTO THE CONTRACT?
NO, the date listed in your contract is an estimated target date for closing. This date can be extended by either the purchaser or seller without cause for up to 14 days to permit coordination of closings. When the closing date listed in the contract is preceded by the phrase “Time is of the Essence”, this becomes a mandatory closing date and may not be extended without the opposing party’s consent.
WHAT TYPE OF INSPECTIONS ARE AVAILABLE AND WHEN SHOULD THEY BE COMPLETED?
There are many types of inspections that are available to Purchasers depending on the specification of the home being purchased. They include structural, wood destroying insect, radon, well water (if applicable), and septic (if applicable) inspections. Mortgage lenders require wood destroying insect, well water, and septic inspections. Although structural and radon inspections remain optional, they are strongly recommended by real estate professionals. All inspection time periods will run from either the date of the contract or conclusion of attorney review. Most often the inspections must be completed within 10 or 14 days. Ask your real estate professional to recommend names of at least 3 inspection companies or check your local yellow pages for “Home Inspection Companies”
AM I REQUIRED TO OBTAIN A CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY OR SMOKE DETECTOR CERTIFICATION?
Certain municipalities require the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy to be obtained by sellers prior to closing. Please inquire with your real estate professional or contact your municipalities Zoning Office to check the requirements of your municipality. All municipalities now require the issuance of a smoke detector and carbon monoxide certificate prior to closing. Within 30 days prior to closing, you should contact your municipality’s Fire Safety Office to order the required inspections to check the operation and locations of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. We recommend that you personally test your detectors and check their locations prior to the inspection date to avoid the need for rescheduling.
SHOULD I PAY MY MORTGAGE PRIOR TO CLOSING AND HOW WILL MY MORTGAGE BE PAID OFF?
Any existing mortgage payment that is not paid within the first 15 days of the month will be subject to a late fee and possible credit notation. We recommend that you make arrangements well in advance of the first day of your closing month to insure your payment is properly credited and eliminate the possibility of a late payment.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING THE DAY OF CLOSING AND HOW LONG WILL CLOSING TAKE?
You should assume that both you and your spouse must attend the closing even if your spouse is not listed on the title. New Jersey law requires a spouse to join in the conveyance deed if the home was used as their primary residence. You are not required to bring any old title documents. We recommend that you bring at least one set of keys, garage door openers and your original Certificate of Occupancy/Smoke Detector Certification. Excess keys and appliance manuals may be kept at the house. If your home is a condominium, you should bring your monthly Association Maintenance Fee payment coupon, pool badges and Public Offering Statement. Closings rarely take longer than 90 minutes from start to finish.
IN WHAT CONDITION SHOULD MY HOME BE LEFT?
The contract typically requires that the home be left in “broom clean” condition with all personal property and debris removed from the property. It is recommended that the home be left in the same condition that you would expect a new home be left. We recommend that the home be thoroughly vacuumed, kitchen and baths be cleaned; appliances wiped down and all personal property removed from the property. Garbage may not be left behind for future municipal pick- up. Do not leave matching paint or other items that you think the purchasers may want … they probably do not want them to be left and may cause an escrow to be held at time of closing.
During winter months, all snow and ice should be removed from walkways and driveway. In fall, all leaves should be removed from lawns and grassy areas. In summer, grass should be newly cut and properly maintained through closing date.