Top Ten Concerns for Home Purchases
For many of us, the home purchase is the largest single personal investment decision we will ever make. For most of us, home ownership provides enormous personal and financial satisfaction. For all of us, information about the process from offer to post closing provides reassurance that helps resolve concerns.
- The contract offer. When working with a Realtor, be assured that your offer, if accepted by the seller, is subject to a three day attorney review. Pursuant to the New Jersey Supreme Court, both buyers and sellers are given three business days to modify or even terminate the standard contract which you have signed with your Realtor. This does not mean there is anything wrong with the contract. The idea is to help you fully understand the contract. Involve your attorney as soon ass possible. You do not have to wait until the contract is signed.
- Mortgage inspection. Most Buyers are pre-qualified by the Realtor. Your attorney can provide guidance if you’re concerned about the impact of selling your exisiting home as a condition of mortgage approval as well as answering other morgage questions.
- The home inspection. Almost all contracts will provide an adequate time period to the Buyer to obtain professional inspections on the home and its system including in-ground pools, central air, termites, asbestos, and other concerns. Be sure to discuss with your attorney the type of inspection issues which will permit you to termite the contract if the seller will not fix the problem.
- The closing date. Generally, closing dates are not written in stone. There are many good reasons for some flexibility in the closing date, particularly when the closing is often 60 days or 90 days in the future. Be sure to discuss the closing date with your attorney.
- Title searches and survey. New Jersey is the “title insurance state” and all lenders will require the Buyer to have this insurance. The survey is a birds-eye-view of the dimensions of your property showing the location of the property boundaries, the house driveway, fences, etc.
- Personal property and fixtures. The old saying goes, “if you could turn the house upside down and shake, whatever doesn’t fall out is a fixture!” In the contract, you will read that fixtures are included. In addition, there is usually a listing sheet with your Realtor which describes what’s included.
- The property disclosure form. It is the seller’s obligation to provide honest information about a variety of issues concerning the house. Most Realtors will have this available for you. If you have not seen it, it can be obtained during attorney review.
- Closing cost. Not only are you spending well into six figures (or more) on your home purchase, but you have heard that there are closing costs. Closing costs include more than the attorney’s fee and the home inspector’s fee. Your attorney, your Realtor, and your lender will give you detailed estimates to avoid any unhappy surprises days before the closing.
- Back-to-back closings. On occasion, Buyers want to sell their house and buy their house the same day. It can be done with plenty of advanced planning.
- Business judgement. A home purchase can be a very emotional experience. Avoid having the “tail wag the dog.” Keep your perspective as you juggle lender paperwork and a mover’s schedule. If you love the house and the inspection was very good overall, don’t despair because the seller refuses to fix the broken screen door or repair the cracks in the sidewalk. Focus on the overall value: good location, good mortgage rates, and the overall condition of the home. Your Realtor and your attorney will work hard to make this important even go as smoothly as possible.
Sincerely, H. Carleton Clinch, Esq.