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When you buy a home the last consideration you’re thinking about is the law. But real estate is all about contracts. The lack of solid legal information can make the differences between ”home sweet home” and fiasco.

Indeed, nearly every step of the real estate process is replete with legal forms, and legal documents, therefore, you need a highly qualified, detailed-oriented real estate attorney to make sure your investments are solid.

Mina Diksies LLC law firm specializes in real estate law and estate planning and will guide you through:

  • Dealing with real estate agents
  • Loan pre-approval
  • contract & attorney reviews
  • mortgage loans
  • Inspections
  • Title insurance
  • Loan processing
  • Closings

A real estate attorney is just as imperative if you sell. Buying or selling, the offices of Mina Diksies LLC, can help you through all real estate transactions, including:

  • Commerical/Residential Short Sales
  • Commercial Real Estate
  • Residential Real Estate
  • Refinance Real Estate
  • Purchasing Real Estate
  • Leasing Real Estate

New Jersey doesn’t require real estate attorneys in real estate transactions, but it makes sense to hire one.  After all, this is one of the largest investments and commitments in the average person’s life.  This is of course is to say nothing of the amount of legal forms and legal contracts throughout the process.  It’s better to be prepared with a professional real estate lawyer on your side.

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Real Estate Agents | Loan Pre-Approval | The Contract | Inspections | Title Insurance | The Mortgage Loan & Loan Processing

REAL ESTATE AGENTS

Who doesn’t know a real estate agent? But did you know there are three roles an agent can play? Buyer’s, seller’s and dual. A buyer’s agent is supposed to represent the buyer, looking for flaws, negotiating on the buyer’s behalf, helping them close their purchase expeditiously. A seller’s agent advocates for the seller, helping them negotiate and get the best price. A dual agent attempts to represent both sides without favoring either.  No matter which agent you employ, if you’re selling you commit to that person for the transaction.

Point of etiquette, the first realtor you see a house with is the one who earns the commission which is paid by the seller.  Make sure you know what you're getting into.

If you are a seller, you’ll also have to sign a listing agreement, a binding legal document, agreeing to the terms of representation, rate, length of representation and obligations on the part of the realtor. In most cases, you’ll also have to agree not to jump to another realtor during the process of selling your home. Make sure you consult a NJ real estate lawyer who will make sure that you make solid decisions and are protected during the process of buying or selling a home.

Mina Diksies LLC Real Estate Attorneys Offer Expert Advice and Tested Experience

LOAN PRE-APPROVAL

If you are quite serious about looking for a house it’s wise to check out your options with lenders. You can start a process called pre-approval, based on a basic credit check, which gives you a specific amount you qualify for. That way you know how much house you can really afford. In a hot market, where there are a lot of competitive bids, it will help you with sellers since they won’t worry that the deal may fall through due to mortgage difficulties.

However, one word of warning, there is a limited time when you can mortgage hunt without it affecting your credit. If you wait too long between shopping a mortgage and acquiring a commitment, your credit will be adversely affected. So wait until you are serious. This is also the point where you should be looking for a good real estate attorney.

THE CONTRACT

Once a homebuyer decides to submit an offer on a property, the real estate agent will have him or her sign a standard contract.
If the seller accepts the offer, the contract should be forwarded to the real estate attorneys and the attorney review period begins. During this three-day period, either side may cancel for any reason whatsoever without liability to the other party. If either attorney disapproves of any provision within the contract or wishes to modify the contract, the request to modify must be sent in writing to the other attorney and the agents. At this time, the three-day countdown stops, but attorney review is not over until both sides agree on every point, and sign off on the changes.

If no letter is sent, the terms of the contract as signed by the buyer and seller become binding.
Don’t breathe too deep a sigh of relief… there are still some things to do before closing and a real estate lawyer can be a great help resolving them.

INSPECTIONS

Inspections themselves don’t require any forms, but their findings will be key in the home buying or selling process. Having a real estate attorney ensures that your interests are best served during the subsequent negotiations.

In New Jersey, after obtaining a commitment following the conclusion of attorney review, a buyer has the right to a home inspection, termite inspection, and radon test conducted by licensed professionals. Once all of the inspections are completed and the corresponding reports are submitted, a real estate lawyer should request that the seller either repair all of the items of concern mentioned in the inspector’s report or issue a “credit” at closing.

We don’t want to be fear mongers, but no matter how many times you see a home, you can’t catch all the flaws. It takes a professional. And it takes a professional to ensure that those findings result in legal benefits. A real estate attorney can ensure that there is reasonable compensation or remediation for flaws discovered in the inspections.

If you are the seller, a real estate attorney can ensure that you only make price adjustments on reasonable issues, and that those adjustments are fair.

TITLE INSURANCE

You buy your dream house, everything happens like clockwork, from negotiations to closing and you move in. Put down a fresh coat of paint. Fix a few things. Then discover that the seller didn’t own the house, at least not completely.
Unpaid taxes, lawsuit judgments, unpaid creditors, liens, previous mortgages, these all can adversely affect your ownership of your home.  Essentially, if any of these are present, you do not own your home completely.

Well, that’s what title insurance is for, to protect you. Basically, it says that the property you are buying will be free and clear of anything that affects your ownership in a negative way.

A real estate attorney will review a title binder, provided by the title insurance company. It lists the previous owners and enumerates any liens from existing mortgages as well as those which have resulted from unpaid taxes, utilities, and court judgments.

If it is discovered they don’t have title free and clear, a real estate lawyer can help settle the matter before closing. If the matter is irresolvable, then you are in the happy position of being able to walk away without incurring financial harm or obligations. On the off chance that everyone missed a problem, title insurance will insure your purchase price so you are at least able to buy a new dream home.

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THE MORTGAGE LOAN & LOAN PROCESSING

Your Obligations
Once attorney review is concluded, you should be busy changing that pre-approval to a mortgage commitment. In fact, a clause in most standard real estate contracts obligates you to do so, usually in thirty to forty five days. A commitment is a binding document between the buyer and the lender stating that the lender has given final approval for the loan. Because a mortgage commitment is a binding contract, we strongly urge you to let a real estate attorney look it over for problems before signing.


If you are unable to secure a mortgage commitment by the contract commitment deadline, the seller may choose to cancel the contract or extend the commitment deadline. Unless it’s a hot market and they’ve got another offer, they usually extend. But only if they think you’ve made an effort.

Terms of the Loan
We bet you’ve heard of predatory lending and all those people who signed for loans and didn’t read the small print. Here’s where a more experienced eye is helpful.

Between submitting pay stubs, worrying about credit reports and checking interest rates, you as the buyer are just hoping to get a loan. You assume the lender will get you the best deal. Not so.

Understand they control the information, and can present a loan as better than it is, or hide important details like massive rate jumps, fines for early payment etc. A real estate attorney can review such a document for hidden costs, loophole, etc.

THE CLOSING
Funny things happen at closings. Too many people walk in with no more representation than their agent, which simply isn’t enough.
The closing requires your signature on numerous legal documents, often with numerous pages attached, in triplicate. The three most important documents are the mortgage, note, HUD-1 settlement statement and finally the deed. Yes, a real estate lawyer should extensively review all of them before you go in but they should also accompany you at closing.

Are you going to read an entire mortgage note with ten pages after you’ve signed it twice? Are you even going to worry about the simple little requirement the loan company added on to the form? You want to quit writing and get those keys in your hand. Tedious review may not be where your head is at but ours will be. At the offices of Mina Diksies LLC, our NJ real estate lawyers revel in detail. When you sign a document — and you’ll sign many, you can be sure that the contract is solid, and protects your interests.

If something unexpected occurs — a seller can suddenly decide they don’t want to sell or a buyer can look at a stain they didn’t see before and refuse to buy. Who is going to be your advocate then?

A real estate lawyer will remind the other party of their legal obligations, and the cost of reneging on them. We’ll also remind you to pick up the keys.


 

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