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Real Estate

The purchase and sale of a person’s home is the largest financial decision many people will make in their lifetime.  The transaction is often as emotional as it is financially beneficial or necessary.  Although the practice of buying and selling a home is frequently executed without any major issues appearing, every transaction is unique in some way and legal protection is crucial in today’s market.

The following is a general overview of the most common process of buying and selling real estate in New Jersey. Be advised that the process varies with each transaction and there are countless variations of the steps below.  The information below is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult you own attorney for individual advice regarding your own unique situation


The buyer makes a written offer by way of a Realtor’s Real Estate Contract.  The Seller agrees to the Contract by countersigning the Contract and returning it the buyer.  Your Realtor is best expert you have on value and negotiating the original Contract.  In most contracts the important issues are price, deposit amount, mortgage amount, type of mortgage, fixtures, and, if necessary, home sale contingency.  Although the contract may be changed during attorney review, it is far better to agree on these issues before entering attorney review.

Attorney Review

The attorney review begins when both parties receive a fully executed contract.  The parties have three full business days to submit the contract to their attorney for review.  The vast majority of contracts need to be amended during the review process.  The attorney will send a letter containing language “disapproving of the contract” and offering changes.  Attorney review letters may contain any type or amount of changes including changes in contract price and simply cancelling the contract.  It is important for parties to realize that the language of the attorney review letters, and many other of the attorney’s letters during the transactions, may appear stronger than intended in order to protect the client’s interests.  Attorney review ends when both parties agree on the most recent changes contained in the attorney review letters.  It is important to remember that the three day period is only relevant to the sending of the first letter and not the total time that attorney review will last.



Within the designated time in the Contract, typically 10-14 days after the end of attorney review, the buyer will have a licensed inspector inspect the property.  The inspector will issue a written inspection report and the Buyer’s attorney will forward it to the Seller with requested repairs.  If the parties agree upon Seller’s repairs the inspection period of the contract is closed.  If the parties are unable to agree, the Contract is canceled and the Buyer receives the deposit back.

In my experience the vast majority of real estate transaction that never close fall apart during the inspection period.  If you are able to successfully negotiate inspections and come to an agreement it is likely you will close on the property.


Mortgage contingency

As soon as possible after the end of attorney review the buyer should decide upon a mortgage company and deliver the necessary information to that mortgage company.  While the inspection period of the contract is the most frequent cause for transactions to fall apart, mortgage problems are the most like reason for any delays in closing.  It is vital for a buyer to work diligently with the mortgage company and to provide the required documents as soon as possible.  Small delays early on may cause delays months later.

A common misconception is that the buyer need not decide upon a mortgage until inspections have been agreed to.  Also, “mortgage shopping”, or the delay of committing to a mortgage company while trying to compare rates or fees is a breach of the contract.  It is best to do any mortgage research early.  Then commit to a mortgage company as soon as possible during the contract and provide them with all the requested documents.



Your title company will search the property, the buyer and the seller to insure clear title.  If there are any problems with title, your attorney will work with the title company to satisfy them, if possible, so you may proceed to closing.



After the seller has vacated the property and before the buyer has purchased the property the buyer will inspect the property one final time.  This inspection is done to insure all agreed upon repairs have been made and that there are no new issues with the property or issues that were hidden at the time of closing.  Issues that were present and available at the time of inspection cannot be brought up anew at walk-through.  This is the buyer’s last chance to see the property before purchase.



Seller should order a final water reading and have all utilities scheduled to be transferred or turned off after closing.  The utilities must be on during the walkthrough so that the buyers may insure everything is working properly.  The buyers should



On the day of closing the buyer will arrive at the buyer’s attorney’s office before the seller.  This extra time is used for the attorney to explain and complete the mortgage papers.  Then the seller will arrive, deliver the Deed, keys, and seller’s documents in exchange for money owed to the seller.  This is the last time for the buyer to ask any questions of the seller. 


Since 1982 our office has handled a wide variety of real estate and related transactions.  As stated earlier, the above is just a general overview of the process.  There is no end the different aspects of each closing.  Unforeseen issues appear constantly and need to be addressed on an individual basis.  Our clients receive personal representation throughout the process while we will work with you in every way possible to help you buy or sell your home.


Copyright © 2010 by Curry, Connelly & Kukfa, PC. All rights reserved. You may reproduce these materials for your own personal use and for non-commercial distribution. All copies must include this copyright statement.  Any questions about these materials, please call  609-301-8032.